The Irish Government has unveiled its latest raft of coronavirus restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of the virus across the country.
The Cabinet agreed a number of additional public health restrictions which will apply under Level 5.
The Government said that advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) shows that the virus has deteriorated to the point "where there is an absolute need to reduce the level of mobility and congregation" to reduce the rate of transmission.
The following measures have been put in place to support this:
Schools will remain closed until February 1. Exceptions are in place, including a provision for all 6th year Leaving Certificate students to attend school for three days a week commencing the week of January 11, and certain provisions for special education and specialised settings.
The resumption of the ECCE programme is delayed until February 1.
Childcare services, including regulated childminders, will remain closed with the exception of services for vulnerable children and children of essential workers. Other existing childcare arrangements can continue to operate for vulnerable children and children of essential workers only. In addition, a household of an essential worker, without an existing childcare arrangement, can form a bubble with another household for the purpose of providing childcare.
Construction will be closed with effect from 6pm on January 8, with limited exceptions for essential cases, including social housing projects, and essential health and related projects.
Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets should no longer be permitted with immediate effect. Existing orders may be collected. Click and deliver will continue to be permitted.
The Government also agreed that the current travel moratorium in place for travel from Great Britain and South Africa is extended until midnight on January 8. From January 9, all passengers arriving at Irish airports and ports whose journey originates in Great Britain or South Africa will be requested to have evidence of a negative result from a PCR Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
The Government has agreed to maintain, at current levels, the payments available under both the Employment Wage Support Scheme (EWSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). The Government said this will ensure continued support for both employers and workers who lose their jobs due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
Under the EWSS, a payment of up to 350 euro per week will continue to be available, and will remain in place until the March 31.
The PUP, available to those who have lost their jobs, including the self-employed, as a result of Covid-19, will continue to be made available at the current pay-related level of up to 350 euro a week until March 31.