• "Parties and pints" are on hold as the government announced  yesterday evening that it has stalled the lifting of Phase 4 of the Covid restrictions from Monday next to August the 10th.

    The Health Minister has played down the impact of foreign travel on the spread of the coronavirus.

    The reproductive rate of the virus has now increased to between 1.2 and 1.8 and phase four has been delayed until August 10th.

    It means pubs, nightclubs and casinos can't re-open and restrictions on public gatherings remain in place.

    Face-coverings in all shops will become mandatory and no more than 10 people can attend social gatherings in a house.

    A 'green list' for international travel will be published on Monday, and and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has played down the impact of tourists on the spread of the virus.

    Professor Sam McConkey, the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Ireland, says it was right to halt the reopening plan.

    Gatherings of up 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors now won't be allowed until August 10th.

    The current limits of 50 and 200 respectively will apply until then.

    Elaina Fitzgerald-Kane, president of the Irish Hotels Federation, says that's a big blow to the hospitality sector.

    Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says the delay to reopening all pubs is 'absolutely shocking'.

    He says publicans will now need extra funding from the government to prevent them closing for good.

    Retail Excellence Ireland has welcomed the government's decision to make face-coverings mandatory in shops.

    Managing director Duncan Graham hopes it can boost customer confidence.



    The Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan says he understands people's frustrations with the Covid-19 restrictions, but is urging the public not to undo the good work done up to this point.

    The measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus are due to expire on May 5th, however it's anticipated they'll be extended with little change.

    An update from government on its plan's expected on Friday following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team.

  • The government has announced a significant speeding up of the lockdown restrictions with the plan reduced from five phases to four.

    All retail shops will open from Monday - while pubs with restaurant licences, hotels and the wider hospitality sector will be allowed to open from June 29th.

    From Monday people will be allowed to travel anywhere in their county - with all restrictions on movement being lifted at the end of this month.

    Playgrounds and outdoor summer camps can re-open next week - while groups of up to 6 people can meet indoors or outdoors with social distancing.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the final phase will now start on July 20th - not in August as previously planned.

  • The Government has asked health officials to consider speeding up the exit plan for the Coronavirus lockdown.

    The Taoiseach says Ministers have asked to move some of the phase 3 measures up to phase 2, which is due to start on Monday.

    Cabinet will make a decision tomorrow on whether to go ahead with that after medical advice from NPHET.

    Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said they are looking to move parts of the roadmap up.

  • Restrictions on movement will not be lifted on Easter Sunday.

    While the National Public Health Emergency Team have yet to make a formal recommendation to extend the measures, the Health Minister says it's highly unlikely they will be relaxed.

    The NPHET is meeting today to discuss restrictions but won't make a final call until Friday.

    Minister Simon Harris says the measures are working and need to stay in place.


  • Taoiseach Leo Varadker has announced a number of new restrictions, as the battle against Covid-19 is stepped up.

    In a press conference shortly after 4pm, Mr Varadker asked people to stay at home if at all possible, and said people should only leave their home to go to work - if they can't work from home - to get essential food and medical supplies and to take exercise.

    He announced that all hairdressers, casinos, bingo halls, theatres and gyms are to close, as well as marts, markets and betting shops.

    All non-essential shops are to close, while restaurants and cafes are limited to take-away or delivery only.

    Hotels are to limit their occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist activities, and Mr Varadker said social gatherings are to involve no more than four people, unless they're from the same household.

    He said no unnecessary travel was to be taken, within the country or overseas, while caravan parks and playgrounds are to close.

    All existing coronavirus measures, including the closure of schools and pubs, will be extended until Sunday 19th April.

    Earlier this afternoon, the Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the Leaving and Junior Cert exams are still scheduled to go ahead in June, but that could change, depending on the spread of coronavirus in the community.

    The emergency welfare payment for workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis will increase to €350 per week.

    And in a significant new move the Government will also pay 70% of employee wages up to €410 per week for businesses who are willing to meet the remainder of their staff’s weekly payment.

    The Taoiseach said this situation could go on for weeks, or even months, but said better times are yet to come.

    In the meantime, he said it's vital that everyone continues to take the necessary precautions in terms of hygiene and social distancing......

  • Theatres, clubs, marts, markets, hairdressers and bingo halls are among a list of businesses now closed as part of major new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, as people are advised to work from home unless attendance in the workplace is absolutely essential.

    The order came into force at midnight and will remain in place, along with previously announced restrictions, until at least April 19th.

    The Government ordered yesterday that non-essential retail outlets are to close, while essential shops should implement strict physical distancing measures.

    Those remaining open include food shops, pharmacies, hardware stores, post offices and credit unions.

    All sporting events are cancelled, including those behind closed doors.

    All playgrounds and caravan parks are closed, and all cafés and restaurants are to operate on a take-away or deliver business.

    People are also being asked to stay at home where possible and not meet outside in groups larger than four.

    There's been some criticism of the decision to keep construction sites and factories open, but construction sites where safe distancing cannot be practised are being advised to close.

    Last night, 204 new cases of coronavirus were announced along with one death, bringing the total number of fatalities in this country to seven.

    Dublin has over half the number of cases at 535, followed by Cork with 123 cases or 13 percent.

    As of the latest confirmed county figures, there are 35 confirmed cases in Co Galway, 9 cases in Mayo, 8 in Sligo and less than 5 in Co Roscommon.

    Nationally, 29% of cases have been hospitalised with 36 people admitted to ICU.

  • The Taoiseach has played down what people should expect when Coronavirus restrictions begin to unwind.

    Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil that complacency is the enemy now and that control of the spread may be lost if people are not careful.

    There's been speculation that older people may be allowed to take outdoor exercise as part of an easing of restrictions from May 5th.

    However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says any easing of measures will be gradual.