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Ireland to impose COVID-19 restrictions after Christmas

2021 Dec 23, 15:06, Dublin

Northern Ireland will impose restrictions the day after Christmas to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus strain, which now accounts for over 40 percent of COVID-19 infections in the country, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill said.

"The Executive has taken the decision to protect people and protect the health service over the coming days and weeks," O'Neill said in a video posted on her Twitter account on Wednesday.

The deputy minister told reporters that nightclubs would be closed and indoor dancing would not be allowed from 6 a.m. on December 26. Moreover, all indoor standing events will be prohibited.

In addition, starting December 27, only residents of a maximum of three households will be allowed to gather together. Guests will also be required to be seated with a maximum of six people, or 10 people from a single household at a table.

Citizens are also recommended to work from home and to maintain a two-meter social distance.

The deputy minister said the decision would help keep infection rates down and relieve the pressure put on healthcare workers and emergency services.

The measures may be revised on December 30, O'Neill said. Currently, the Irish authorities are closely monitoring the situation.

The United Kingdom has faced a surge in COVID-19 cases ahead of Christmas. The country has been breaking records for several days in the number of registered infections. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases with the Omicron strain has exceeded 74,000. The Ministry of Health has predicted that the number of Omicron infections in the country may exceed a million by the end of December.

On December 8, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would move to the so-called plan B. The British are now encouraged to work from home whenever possible and required to wear a face covering. In addition, a COVID-19 pass confirming vaccination is now mandatory for visiting crowded places. Daily testing is required for those who may have come into contact with carriers of the coronavirus.


Ireland OMICRON covid-19 pandemic illness spread lockdown restriction Christmas cases
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