Ireland announces extra measures

Dublin, Jan 7 (IANS) Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has announced a number of extra measures in an effort to stem the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures include a mandatory requirement for all travellers coming into Ireland from Britain and South Africa to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to taking a flight, Xinhua news agency.

This requirement will take effect immediately after Friday midnight when an extended travel ban on the above mentioned two countries will expire, according to a government statement, which later detailed the new restrictions announced by Martin on Wednesday.

The travel ban was recently imposed by the Irish government following the identification of variants of Covid-19 in Britain and South Africa.

The government also decided that all schools in the country should remain closed until February 1, with exceptions for special education and Leaving Certificate students, referring to those in their last year at high schools.

Local schools are supposed to be reopened on January 11 if not due to the pandemic.

According to the new rules, all the non-essential construction sites should be closed starting from 6 p.m. on Friday, with exceptions for those related to foreign direct investment, export, health, social housing and other essential needs.

Online click and collect service from non-essential retail outlets should no longer be permitted with immediate effect, said the statement, adding that online click and delivery will continue to be permitted.

The extra measures were announced after the current level-5 or the highest-level restrictions failed to contain the surging Covid-19 cases in the country.

The Irish Department of Health on Wednesday reported 7,836 new confirmed Covid-19 cases and 17 fatalities.

To date, a total of 121,154 people in the country have contracted the virus, while at least 2,299 of them have died from the disease.

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