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Ireland’s second nationwide lockdown comes into force

The country will face the toughest set of restrictions for six weeks.

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A photo of An Taoiseach Micheal Martin is seen at the locked entrance to a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A photo of An Taoiseach Micheal Martin is seen at the locked entrance to a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A photo of An Taoiseach Micheal Martin is seen at the locked entrance to a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland has entered a second lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.

The entire country moved to the highest level of restrictions under the Government’s five-tiered framework for living with the virus at midnight on Wednesday for six weeks.

In doing so it has become the first country in Europe to re-impose a nationwide lockdown in an effort to tackle the record number of cases over recent weeks.

The strict measures will remain in place until December 1.

Irish leader Micheal Martin announced the move to level five restrictions on Monday saying the Government could not stop the virus on its own and said if everyone pulled together, the country would be able to celebrate Christmas “in a meaningful way”.

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No more than 25 people can attend weddings (Niall Carson/PA)

No more than 25 people can attend weddings (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

No more than 25 people can attend weddings (Niall Carson/PA)

Under the new restrictions, people are urged to stay home and exercise within a five-kilometre radius of their homes.

Large parts of the economy have shut down as a result.

Only schools, creches and essential retail remain open.

No social or family gatherings are allowed in homes or gardens, but visits on compassionate grounds and for caring purposes can continue.

People from one household can meet another household in an outdoors setting such as a park.

A total of 25 people can attend weddings and funerals.

Restaurants, cafes and bars are permitted to provide takeaway or delivery services only.

They are no longer allowed to provide outdoor dining.

Hairdressers, barbers, salons, and gyms are not allowed to operate.

But elite sports training and senior inter-county Gaelic games can continue.

The Garda has introduced a range of measures including checkpoints and high visibility patrols to coincide with the imposition of level five measures.

There will be over 2,500 gardai on duty at any one time to ensure compliance with the public health guidelines.

New penalties will be introduced for breaching the measures.

These include fines of up to 1,000 euro and/or up to one month in prison for someone who hosts a party.

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Gardai will only intervene as a last resort, it is claimed (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai will only intervene as a last resort, it is claimed (Brian Lawless/PA)

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Gardai will only intervene as a last resort, it is claimed (Brian Lawless/PA)

People attending a house party or attempting to attend one could also face fines of up to 1,000 euro and/or one month in prison.

On the spot fines of up to 500 euro could be imposed if people do not wear a mask, among other offences.

The legislation does not give gardai the power to enter a home without a warrant, but they could stand at the entrance and look for the occupier’s name.

They could also turn someone around if they believe they are attending an event.

The new laws are expected to come into effect within days.

The Justice Minister Helen McEntee said gardai will only use the new powers as a last resort.

A further 1,167 cases of Covid-19 were reported by the Department of Health on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 53,422.

Three more people with died of the virus.

A total of 1,868 people have died of the virus.

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