TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has announced a number of new measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19.
On Tuesday evening, Varadkar addressed the nation following an emergency Cabinet meeting where it was established that "unprecedented actions" were needed to tackle an "unprecedented emergency".
He pleaded for people to "stay home" and to avoid "non-essential indoor visits" as he told the country that "we need to do more".
"We need to flatten the curve and suppress the virus," he said.
"So I'm asking you to stay at home, if at all possible.
"This is the best way to slow the virus, ensure our hospitals are not overwhelmed and buy us time that we need to build more capacity, testing, contact tracing, beds and ventilators.
"So you should only leave home to go to work, if you can't work from home and your attendance is essential."
Mr Varadkar went on to stress that people should only go to the shops for "essential" supplies such as food and medical care, and should only otherwise leave the house for physical exercise or to take care of others.
He added that social gatherings of individuals outdoors shouldn't exceed four people unless you're all from the same household.
"We are in this for long haul," he stressed.
"We need to see our families and loved ones and look after our mental and physical health. And we can do it if we maintain a physical distance of 2 metres or more.
"In order to assist all of this, the restrictions I announced in Washington DC are being extended until Sunday 19th April.
"And, the following new actions are being taken:
- All theatres, clubs, gyms/leisure centres, hairdressers, betting shops, marts, markets, casinos, bingo halls, libraries and other similar outlets are to shut;
- All hotels to limit occupancy to essential non-social and non-tourist reasons;
- All non-essential retail outlets are to close to members of the public and all other retail outlets are to implement physical distancing; [a list of essential stores is provided]
- All cafes and restaurants are to limit supply to take away food or delivery;
- All sporting events are cancelled, including those behind closed doors;
- All playgrounds and holiday/caravan parks will close;
- All places of worship are to restrict numbers entering at any one time to ensure adequate physical distancing;
- All organised social indoor and outdoor events of any size are not to take place."
Varadkar concluded his speech with a rousing message:
"Four years ago we commemorated the 1916 Rising and we celebrated the men and women who helped us win our freedom and our independence.
"I never believed that we would be called upon to match their courage, or their example.
"Today we are.
"Working together our country will come through this Emergency. We will be tested – but will succeed.
"Our greatest generation was not in the past.
"Better times are yet to come."