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28th Mar 2020

#Covid-19: Leo Varadkar announces two-week lockdown for Ireland

The new measures came into effect from midnight.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has revealed Ireland’s “next stage” in response to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency, effectively amounting to a two-week lockdown for the public.

In an address broadcast to the nation on Friday night (27 March), Varadkar began his remarks by expressing his condolences for those who have died in association with the virus and by thanking the public for their efforts to date.

The Taoiseach went on to announce new restrictive measures that officially came into effect at midnight last night until Sunday April 12.

Everybody in Ireland is asked to stay inside their homes in all circumstances with the exception of the following purposes:

  • Travel to and from work for the purposes of work only when the work is an essential service that cannot be done from home
  • To shop for groceries or collect food/medicine
  • Vital family reasons
  • Visiting those who require care
  • Brief individual physical exercise within two kilometres of the home while adhering to strict two-metre social distancing measures – parents can bring children but must adhere to social distancing
  • Farming services

All public and private gatherings outside of a household are prohibited. Public transport will be limited to those offering essential services while an emergency response will be stepped up in tandem.

Shielding or “cocooning” will be introduced for those aged over 70 and specified categories of people. Official and detailed HSE guidance on cocooning is available at this link.

All visits to hospitals, residential healthcare settings and prisons are postponed except for instances of compassionate grounds.

Travel to offshore islands is limited only to residents of those offshore islands.

The government will provide a list of what qualifies as an essential profession. Direct updates are available here.

Varadkar noted that he remains reluctant to use the term “lockdown” though accepted that the new measures represent “very restrictive” ones.

Earlier on Friday evening, 302 new cases of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland and three further deaths associated with the virus were announced by the Department of Health.

That brings the total to 2,121. 34 new cases were announced in Northern Ireland earlier on Friday, bringing that total to 275.

The overall number of cases on the island of Ireland is 2,396.

22 people have died in the Republic to date in connection with the virus since the outbreak began, while 13 people have died in Northern Ireland.

The Department of Health’s official Covid-19 dashboard, including a county-by-county breakdown, is available here.