Following a near six-week national lockdown, Irish authorities have announced that all retail outlets, hairdressers, museums, and libraries will reopen from Tuesday, December 1, amid an easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the run-up to Christmas. People will be able to attend religious services and play golf and tennis again also. They will not, however, be allowed to leave Ireland unless for essential reasons, which would include work, education, or medical purposes. From December 4, restaurants and pubs that have a kitchen and serve food can reopen; however, pubs that do not serve food will remain closed except for delivery or takeaway services. From December 18 until January 6 people will be allowed to travel to visit family and friends, but only three households can gather at any one time. Authorities are continuing to encourage people to wear face coverings and respect social distancing.
As of Friday, November 27, health authorities have confirmed a total of 71,699 COVID-19 cases with 2043 associated deaths in Ireland. Further spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.