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Ireland re-enters Level 5 restrictions; The restrictions can last up to two months from Christmas Eve says Leo Varadkar

Micheál Martin officially announced that Ireland will be re-entering Level 5 restrictions soon.

He said in a speech to the nation that the new arrangements would remain in place in the country from 3 pm on December 24 to 12 January.

Martin said the move is in response to an extraordinary increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, with a daily growth rate of 10% for Covid cases.

Martin said there were no other ways in this situation other than tightening restrictions. Public health officials warned yesterday that Ireland was now in the third wave of the Covid epidemic.

Micheál Martin also clarified today that the government is moving forward with the understanding that the new Covid-19 variant recently identified in the UK is already in the country.

He said the government was determined to tackle the new menace and move quickly to prevent it. He also added that the sacrifices of the people have already saved many lives and will save even more lives.

The cabinet approved a proposal to allow people to leave their counties until the end of St. Stephen’s Day on December 26.

Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan had recommended that the country should move fully to Level 5 regulations as soon as possible. However, the government is moving to Level 5 with a number of concessions.

The government has allowed non-essential retail outlets and gyms to remain open, but will ask retailers to postpone winter sales events.

Religious services will return online from December 26. Churches will not be barred from opening for Christmas worship on December 24 and 25. The government hopes to vaccinate tens of thousands of people in the first phase.

Schools will reopen in January, as previously announced.

Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said that the number of Covid cases will increase by at least 2,000 every day with the New Year.

Leo Varadkar warned that the new lockdown could last for the first two months of 2021. He said the current situation would be reviewed on January 12.

The Irish people are entering the lockdown much earlier than expected. The immediate action was taken by the top brass of the health department to thwart the arguments of the ruling party leaders that they should go ahead without any restrictions till the first day of the new year.

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