Ireland tightens coronavirus restrictions, boosts rescue package

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Ireland banned all non-essential travel within the country and shut non-essential retail on Tuesday to battle coronavirus as it significantly increased income support for those already left unemployed and workers at risk of joining them.

The additional financial measures will cost an initial 3.7 billion euros over the next 12 weeks, on top of the 3 billion euros already committed to boost sick pay, fund the health service and offer assistance to businesses.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar asked people to stay at home “if at all possible” and only leave home to go to work, if they cannot work from home and attendance is essential.

“You should only go to the shops for essential supplies, out for medical or dental appointments, or to care for others, or to take physical exercise,” Varadkar told a news conference.

The number of cases in Ireland rose to 1,329 on Tuesday from 1,125 a day earlier as a seventh person died. Over the open land border in British-run Northern Ireland, cases rose to 172 from 148 with five deaths.

Ireland was among the first European countries to close schools, universities and childcare facilities almost two weeks ago but has resisted the kind of stricter measures neighbouring Britain announced on Monday, hoping it can get on top of the virus through social distancing and a ramping up of testing.

With school closures extended to April 19, theatres, clubs, gyms, bookmakers and hairdressers were told to close, organised social events banned and gatherings outdoors limited to no more than four people, unless all are from the same household.

Read more via RTE News

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