Government announces more extreme measures to combat COVID-19

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Galway Daily news Taoiseach orders two week nationwide lockdown

Leo Varadkar has just announced a range of new measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in the country, but stopped short of a lockdown.

The Taoiseach said that all sporting events are cancelled, and non-essential retail stores are to close.

All theatres, pubs, clubs, bookies and hairdressers must close, and hotels have been told to restrict occupancy where possible.

In essence, all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close.

He said that people should only leave home if attendance at their workplace is essential, for exercise, or to go to the supermarket, doctor or dentist.

He also said that there should be no outdoor gatherings of over four people.

The Gardaí will increase interventions where venues are not complying with or groups of people are not complying with social distancing.

There will also be more gardaí in public parks and public spaces to ensure that people are observing social distancing.

People should not use public transport unless it is ‘absolutely necessary’, he said.

Restaurants are still allowed to provide takeaway services.

The emergency unemployment payment will be increased to 350 euro. Payments will start from Friday.

The measures will come into effect from midnight tonight and last until April 19th, at least.

It was also announced that the HSE will take over all private hospitals to deal with the crisis.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” he said.

More to follow…