Government rolls out tighter Covid-19 restrictions

ireland
Government Rolls Out Tighter Covid-19 Restrictions Government Rolls Out Tighter Covid-19 Restrictions
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Digital Desk staff

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced that all home gatherings will be limited to six people from three households in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19.

All sporting events will also be held behind closed doors, with no spectators permitted to attend. All sports, including full-contact sports such as rugby, will be allowed to continue training and matches.

Weddings can go ahead with up to 50 people attending, although this will be reviewed by the Cabinet in the coming days.

People from different households travelling in the same car have also been asked to wear face coverings.

Workers are being urged to work from home where possible and all people are being asked to avoid public transport.

People over the age of 70 are being asked to limit social interactions, avoid public transport and to shop during designated hours.

Restaurants will be permitted to remain open but mandatory closures at 11.30pm will be enforced.

Covid testing at airports will be randomised, while locator forms will go electronic this week. Follow up calls for people isolating will also be increased this week according to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

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The new guidelines will come into effect immediately and will remain until September 13th at the earliest.

The Taoiseach said the Government is working on giving gardaí additional powers in situations where there is an immediate risk to public health.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn confirmed that all businesses can remain open and all sporting events can continue to go ahead, but guidelines must be adhered to.

Earlier, the Government’s public health experts advised that gardaí be given greater powers in order to police social gatherings in pubs, restaurants and at private house parties amid growing concern about the behaviour of younger people, political sources have confirmed to the Irish Times.

The new guidelines come as Mr Donnelly announced 190 cases of the virus have been confirmed today.

Public Confidence

The Labour Party has criticised the Government's new guidelines saying they create confusion and risk losing public confidence.

Labour Party leader, Alan Kelly said clarity is needed on whether there would actually be extra powers for Gardaí and whether legislation is needed or not.

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Mr Kelly also said that the decision to end attendance at sporting events was wrong and that there was an inconsistency in the travel advice.

“We are all prepared to play our part, but I can't understand why the Government has made this change when the source of recent outbreaks has been clear, and sporting organisation have acted responsibly.

“What is urgently needed is a ramping up of the testing and tracing system, and enhanced control measures for at-risk food factories and direct provision centres. A quicker turnaround on testing times would enable outbreaks to be more quickly controlled," said Mr Kelly.

Mr Kelly also said that some of the new guidelines issued to people over the age of 70 were "a bit patronising", saying we need to "ensure that there isn’t age discrimination creeping in here."

Our older people sacrificed seeing their families, they adapted to using new technologies, they followed the guidelines and remained indoors for the duration of lockdown.

Active Retirement Ireland have also said that older people are being punished for the actions of others.

Active Retirement Ireland chief executive, Maureen Kavanagh said it was clear that recent outbreaks were not caused by older people "socialising or flouting Government guidelines".

“While we, as much as anyone, understand the need to protect our older citizens, we believe the distinct causes of the recent surge in cases must be dealt with, rather than reimposing restrictions on some of the most vulnerable in our society," said Ms Kavanagh.

"Today’s announcement that older people are to limit their time spent outdoors is disrespectful to our older population.

“Our older people sacrificed seeing their families, they adapted to using new technologies, they followed the guidelines and remained indoors for the duration of lockdown.

“Asking them to stay indoors again and to reduce their social interaction is unfair after they have already sacrificed so much, and while our members will comply with this advice, they feel that they alone are being asked to bear the brunt of this.”

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