Ireland’s citizens will undergo two weeks of lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country’s prime minister says people must stay home until April 12.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said that people can only leave their homes to shop for groceries or brief individual physical exercise within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of their homes and to make family visits that are absolutely essential, such as providing care to elderly or vulnerable people. Almost all shops will be shut, and all public gatherings outside of family units will be prohibited completely.
People can also travel to and from work for an essential service which cannot be done from home, a list of which would be provided, Varadkar said. People can also travel for medical appointments and farming purposes.
Those who are over 70 years old and those who have chronic diseases must stay in their homes completely until at least April 12, the prime minister added.
Tonight, the Government has received further recommendations on the actions that we need to take to protect our people. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/2bmDzEt22q
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) March 27, 2020
“I’m appealing to every man, woman, and child to make these sacrifices for the love of each other … Show that you care for your family and friends: Stay home,” Varadkar told a news conference in Dublin on Friday.
“There isn’t much more we could do beyond this to restrict movement. These are radical actions aimed at saving as many people’s lives as possible in the days and weeks ahead,” he added.
As of Saturday morning local time, Ireland has 2,121 confirmed cases of the CCP virus and 22 related deaths.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
Intensive care units in Ireland will be at capacity within a few days given the rate of the spread of the virus, Varadkar also said.
“I am [concerned]. As things stand, we have empty beds in our ICUs but just the way things are heading would indicate that our ICUs will be at capacity within a few days,” he said.
“That’s already the case across Europe, it looks like it may happen here so we need to plan for that. We need to make sure we have backup ICU capacity, ventilators, CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] machines. All that is happening. An unprecedented effort is being made to tool up.”
Earlier in mid-March, Ireland closed schools, universities, childcare facilities, and pubs. Varadkar on Tuesday announced that all non-essential businesses will shut until at least April 19, before the latest two-week lockdown announcement on Friday.
Reuters contributed to this report.