MICHEÁL MARTIN has announced that Ireland is to enter in a full-scale national lockdown from midnight.
The Taoiseach has confirmed that the entire country will now operate under Level Five restrictions – the strictest, most severe restrictions possible.
As a result, all non-essential retail will be forced to close from tomorrow along with gyms and leisure centres.
Despite previously being allowed to remain open when further lockdown measures were introduced last week, tennis clubs and golf courses will also be required to close.
Household visits are once again banned while the 5km travel limit has also been reintroduced with exceptions made for essential travel.
More significantly, schools are set to remain closed to January 11 at the earliest.
All of the new restrictions are set to remain in place until January 31.
At that point, the Government will review the measures in place to determine whether further restrictions are required or whether they can be partially lifted.
The decision follows a meeting of the Government and based on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is calling for urgent action to combat the spread of Covid-19.
According to the Department of Health 1,718 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours across Ireland with 13 additional Covid-related deaths.
Dr Holohan has warned Ireland is no longer in a containment phase, but instead one of mitigation, adding "every individual should consider themselves potentially infectious".