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Sam Boal

New measures: These are the circumstances in which people will be permitted to leave their homes

A raft of new restrictions were announced by the Taoiseach this evening.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS introduced a raft of restrictive new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

The Taoiseach announced the new measures in a press briefing at 8.30pm tonight, and they are due to come into effect at midnight. 

The announcement followed fresh advice from public health officials. 

People are being told to stay at home for the next two weeks, until Easter Sunday 12 April. 

We’re to stay at home in all circumstances, except in the following situations: 

  • To travel to and from work in circumstances where the work is in an essential health, social care and other essential service and the work cannot be done from home
  • To shop for essential food and household goods or collect a meal 
  • To attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products 
  • For vital family reasons, such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, but excluding social family visits 
  • To take brief individual physical exercise within your locality, which may include children from the household (e.g for a run or walk with/without dog) within 2km of the home (i.e within half an hour from the home) adhering to strict 2 metre social distancing measures 
  • For farming purposes – i.e. food production and/or care of animals 

All public or private gatherings of any number of people are prohibited. 

‘Cocooning’ will be introduced for those over 70 and people who are extremely vulnerable to the disease. 

Additionally a further range of non-essential shops and services are to be closed and everyone who can work from home must – excluding essential workers and workers in essential government, utility or other specified functions. 

Adult community education and local community centres are to be closed. 

Specific guidelines will be available from the Health and Safety Authority for essential workers who, for reasons of their work, cannot maintain social distancing. 

All non-essential surgery, health procedures and other non-essential health services are postponed. 

All visits to hospitals, residential healthcare centres or other residential settings are to cease – including prisons. There will be specific exceptions on compassionate grounds. 

Pharmacists are to be permitted by regulation to dispense medicines outside the current period of validity of the existing prescription in line with the pharmacist’s professional judgement. 

A call is to be made to manufacturers, where possible, to adapt their existing manufacturing capacity to produce PPE equipment, including masks, for the national market.

The full list of essential workers is expected to published early tomorrow.  
In the interim, businesses and services which consider themselves essential service have been advised to remain open, pending publication of the list.

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