Ireland under nationwide lockdown again due to resurgence of COVID-19

Ireland has been placed under a nationwide lockdown again starting from Thursday due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Under what the Irish government calls a Level-5 or the highest response to the pandemic, all the people in the country are required to stay within 5 kilometers of home except those who have to go to workplace or school or who have to leave home for some other special purposes such as buying food and visiting pharmacies or hospitals.

No visits to private homes are allowed. People can meet outdoors, provided they involve members from no more than two households. No social or family gatherings are permitted with the exceptions of weddings and funerals that only allow the attendance of 25 people in maximum.

All the non-essential retail outlets and personal services such as hairdressers and beauty salons have to be closed, but essential retail outlets such as supermarkets will remain open.

Schools, childcare services, construction sites and most manufacturing facilities will also remain open.

Restaurants, cafes and bars can only provide takeaway and delivery services.

Those who violate the restrictions could face an on-the-spot fine of up to 500 euros (about 590 U.S. dollars), reported the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE.

Over 2,500 police officers will be deployed every day at more than 130 checkpoints set up across the country to ensure the compliance of the restrictions, said RTE.

Ireland was first placed under a nationwide lockdown in late March. The country did not start easing the lockdown measures in separate stages until mid-May.

Ireland saw a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late July when it was about to embark on its fourth or the final stage of easing the lockdown measures.

The situation has shown no sign of improvement despite the stricter restrictions imposed by the government in parts of the country in recent weeks.

Over the past eight consecutive days, the number of cases in the country soared to over 1,000 each day, a level that has never been seen since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, according to the data from the Irish Department of Health.

As of midnight Tuesday, there were altogether 53,422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland and a total of 1,868 people had died from the virus in the country, said the department.

In a video message posted on his Twitter account earlier in the day, Irish President Michael D Higgins said that “there is no doubt that the spread of the COVID-19 virus has had a profound impact on all our lives and many have lost loved ones, lost their livelihoods or have seen their lives altered in dramatic ways.”

He urged the public to work together to fight the virus. “No one will be safe from the virus until every one of us is,” he said.

While the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

As of Oct. 19, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 44 of them were in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.