"We must dig deep within ourselves" - Strict new coronavirus guidelines announced


Michael Staines
Michael Staines

16.13 6 Jan 2021


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The Taoiseach has confirmed that schools will remain closed at least until the end of the month.

Leaving Cert students will be asked to attend three days a week, with exceptions also in place for children with special needs.

Pre-schools are also set to close with crèches only open for vulnerable children and the children of essential workers.

Meanwhile, non-essential construction sites will close at the end of the week, with exceptions for ‘essential’ projects including those related to housing and health.

"Tsunami of infection"

Announcing the new measures this afternoon, Micheál Martin said the decisions we all make in the coming month will "directly affect" how many people get sick and how many die.

“As I stand here, hospitals across the country, across these islands and across Europe are under siege from the disease with already exhausted healthcare workers now facing a tsunami of infection even greater than the first wave,” he said.

He noted that we now have more COVID-19 patients in hospital than ever before and said a new study has found that the new strain of the virus increases the reproductive number of the virus by between 0.4 and 0.7.

"Dig deep"

“That is why we must dig deep within ourselves and face the coming month with steely determination and resolve,” he said.

“We simply must suppress this surge and flatten curve once again.

“The personal decisions that each and every one of us makes over the coming month will directly affect how many more people get sick and how many more people die."

“It is as stark and as simple as that.”

Restrictions

The list of construction projects that will be permitted to continue is available here.

The provision of special education, through special schools, special classes and in specialised settings will resume on Monday, January 11th.

Leaving Cert students will return on the same day, with classes to be held three days a week.

The Education Minister Norma Foley said all schools will be given 'autonomy' to decide how that will work in practice.

Early Childhood Care and Education has been suspended until February.

Non-essential shops will be instructed to end click-and-collect services immediately and are only be permitted to operate delivery services moving forward.

On international travel, passengers coming into Ireland will soon have to present a negative coronavirus test on arrival.

Passengers will have to sit the PCR test within three days of travelling here and will still have to self-isolate for 14 days.

The new rules will come into force for travellers from Britain and South Africa on Saturday, with other countries to follow.

People found travelling without proof of a negative test result could face prosecution and potentially a fine or imprisonment.

The ban on travellers from both countries coming to Ireland will remain in place until the new rules are introduced.

The Government has also confirmed that the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and Wage Subsidy schemes will remain in place until at least the end of March.


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