Coronavirus: Ireland tightens COVID-19 restrictions ahead of schools reopening

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Ireland significantly tightened its nationwide coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday to rein in an increase in cases, urging everyone to restrict visitors to their homes, avoid public transport and for older people to limit their contacts.

A spike in cases over the last three weeks after Ireland had one of Europe’s lowest infection rates for several weeks, pushed the country’s 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 population to 26 and led to the first local lockdown last week.

“We’re absolutely not at a stage where we can return to normality. We are at another critical moment,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference, saying the new measures would stay in place until Sept. 13.

Ireland will reopen schools for the first time since March and the aim of new restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus is to make sure key parts of the economy remain open, Martin said on Tuesday.

“Schools are so important to children in general, to society, to the economy as well, that we want our schools to reopen, and our schools will reopen,” Martin told a news conference.

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