Ireland will impose a midnight curfew on bars, restaurants and nightclubs from Thursday, its Prime Minister Micheál Martin has announced, as the country tackles a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases.
Martin said the country’s rise in infections is “a cause of deep concern” as he unveiled a swathe of new measures aimed at “reducing socialization across the board.”
They include a return to guidance that people work from home and an expansion of where a vaccination pass is required — people must now show them at theaters and cinemas.
Ireland has one of Europe’s highest vaccination rates, with 89.1% of people over the age of 12 having been immunized, but its booster program has only been available to those over 60, healthcare workers and at-risk people. The government is making plans to offer third doses to those in the 50s and people with underlying health conditions, Martin said.
The prime minister called for a “collective effort” to keep Ireland’s economy open, and pointed towards the “picture emerging across Europe,” where cases are generally rising and causing governments to bring in fresh restrictions.
Ireland recorded its highest case number since January last Friday, when 5,483 new infections were reported. Deaths remain at a far lower rate than during its January peak, but are inching upwards.