An Taoiseach Leo Vardakar has tonight announced a lockdown of the country in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It follows the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
From midnight until Easter Sunday, everyone must stay at home in all circumstances except for a number of very specific reasons, including:
- To travel to and from work for essential services only, such as healthcare.
- To shop for food or essential household goods
- Vital family reasons, no social gatherings
- To take brief physical exercise
- Certain farming activities are allowed
- No travel outside of a 2km radius of home.
- All public and private gatherings are prohibited
- A further range of shops will be closed.
- Community centres will shut
- Non essential surgeries and procedures are postponed
- Visiting to prisons to cease
- Visiting nursing homes and hospitals is banned
- Shielding and cocooning to be introduced for those over 70 and certain vulnerable people.
- Travel to islands limited to residents of these islands
- All public transport and passenger travel will be restricted to essential workers
These are in addition to existing measures in place.
Mr Varadkar said the number of ICU admissions as a result of Covid-19 cases had doubled since Monday, sparking fears our health system could buckle.
However, the Taoiseach said: "Our country is rising to this challenge, and I'm convinced we will prevail.
"We are not prisoners of fate, we can influence what is going to happen next," he said.
"Freedom was hard won in our country and it jars with us to restrict and limit individual liberties even temporarily.
"But freedom is not an abstract concept - we give it meaning every single day in the way we live our lives and the decisions we take willingly to protect our loved ones and colleagues."
"So I am asking people to give meaning to our freedom and liberty by agreeing to these restrictions, by restricting how we live our lives so others will live."
Health Minister Simon Harris pleaded with people to abide by the restrictions.
"The time will come again when our life goes back to normal, when the distance we now have to put between us can fall away," he said.
"The darkest night will end and the sun will rise”