Irish government announces two-week lockdown to help slow spread of coronavirus
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Irish government announces two-week lockdown to help slow spread of coronavirus

LEO VARADKAR has called on people across Ireland to stay at home for the next two weeks as part of new nationwide restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Speaking during a national broadcast on Friday evening, the taoiseach confirmed that from midnight people must remain indoors, at home, until April 12 at the earlier. 

The announcement comes as part of a raft of new restrictions being introduced by the Irish government to try and curtail the impact of Covid-19. 

Under the plans, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for food or to briefly exercise. All exercise must be undertaken within 2km of their homes. 

Mr Varadkar used the address from the Government Buildings in Dublin to also confirm that all public and private gatherings are now officially banned, along with visits to hospitals and prisons. 

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There will be some exceptions to the rules on compassionate grounds. 

Anyone over 70 or categorised as vulnerable must “cocoon” indoors for the next two weeks while any and all travel to Ireland’s various offshore islands will be restricted to residents only. 

“I’m appealing to every man, woman and child to make these sacrifices for the love of each other ... show that you care for your family and friends: stay home,” said Varadkar. 

“There isn’t much more we could do beyond this to restrict movement. These are radical actions aimed at saving as many people’s lives as possible in the days and weeks ahead.” 

Some concessions are in place for those working in the farming industry while the restrictions are also lifted on anyone travelling to and from what is categorised as “essential work”. 

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This includes anyone caring for the elderly or vulnerable and those collecting medicine or visiting a hospital or doctor’s surgery for an appointment. 

The measures announced by Mr Varadkar echo those already in place over in the UK. 

“Our country is rising to this challenge, and I’m convinced we will prevail,” the taoiseach said. 

The total number of infections from coronavirus in Ireland stands at 2,121. 

On Friday the virus claimed three more lives to bring the nation’s death toll to 22.