Ireland imposes curfew on bars and restaurants – 'We have to slow Omicron'

17 December 2021, 20:49

Michael Martin: 'We are going to see a massive rise in infections.'
Michael Martin: 'We are going to see a massive rise in infections.'. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

Ireland has become the latest country to announce fresh Covid restrictions.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin reimposed a raft of measures in response to the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

The restrictions will be in force from Sunday until at least the end of January.

They include all restaurants and bars, excluding takeaways or delivery services, now facing an 8pm curfew.

Indoor events will also not be allowed past 8pm, while attendance at any such event will be limited to 50 per cent of capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower.

Wedding receptions, meanwhile, will be limited to 100 people – though they can go on past 8pm.

In an address to the nation tonight, Mr Martin warned: “We are going to see a massive rise in infections.

"The challenge we face as a government and a people is how we slow the rise in infection that is coming and how we prevent it getting out of control.

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"We are likely to see infections at a rate that is far in excess of anything we have seen to date."

Worst-case modelling has indicated there could be 20,000 cases a day in the country by early January, with 2,000 in hospital.

Ireland’s announcement came after Wales also reimposed restrictions last night. From 27 December, nightclubs will be shut and two-metre social distancing requirements in shops and offices will return.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's first minister, also said earlier this week restrictions "may now be unavoidable".