More restrictive measures in Irish capital amid rise in COVID-19 cases

A number of new restrictive measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the Irish capital Dublin came into effect on Wednesday.

The new measures, which were announced by the Irish government on Tuesday, mainly focus on limiting the number of people gathering indoors and outdoors and restricting their movement.

Under the new measures, no more than two households in Dublin should meet at any given time either indoors or outdoors and the maximum number of people allowed for such meetings is six.

The number of people who can attend sports matches and events in the city is capped at 100 irrespective of venue size.

Pubs and bars not serving food should remain closed beyond Sept. 21, a time when such pubs and bars in other parts of the country are expected to be reopened for the first time after they were shut down in mid-March.

The new measures also advise higher education institutions in Dublin to consider enhanced protective measures and encourage local residents not to travel outside Dublin.

On Tuesday, the Irish government also unveiled a new medium-term plan to cope with the pandemic in the country for the next six to nine months.

Under the plan, the risk of the pandemic in the country will be rated at five levels with Level 1 being the lowest and having the least amount of restrictive measures in place, and Level 5 being the highest and having the most restrictions in place.

Currently both Dublin and the rest of Ireland are rated by the government at Level 2.

The restrictive measures for Level 2 include limiting the number of people attending a wedding or a funeral to 50 persons.

Dublin has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Of all the 2,133 confirmed cases reported in Ireland over the last ten days, 1,210 cases, or nearly 57 percent, came from Dublin, according to the data from the Irish Department of Health.

The department said on Wednesday that there are now a total of 31,799 confirmed cases in the country with 1,788 fatalities.