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19 Oct 2020 | 04:56 PM UTC

Ireland: Authorities to impose highest level of COVID-19 restrictions from October 21 /update 16

Irish government to impose level five COVID-19 restrictions from October 21 amid uptick in cases; continue to follow government directives



Irish authorities will tighten coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions nationwide from midnight on Wednesday, October 21, in attempts to control the spread of the virus. The measures will be in place for an initial six weeks, but could be extended further. Restrictions levels have been increased to Level 5 (the highest on a five-tier scale), which will be on top of the level 3 restrictions that are in place nationwide, except for County Donegal, County Monaghan, and County Cavan which are on level 4.

The new Level 5 restrictions will include the following:

  • People will be able to meet up outdoors with one other household away from their home for the likes of exercise, within a 5 km (3 miles) limit.
  • Bars and restaurants will only be able to provide a takeaway service.
  • Many non-essential shops and hairdressers will have to close.

Level 4 restrictions include:

  • You cannot have visitors from outside of your own household in your home and garden.
  • No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings.
  • Essential retail and businesses that are primarily outdoors only can remain open.
  • All other retail and personal services are closed.
  • Only essential or other designated workers should go to work.

Level 3 restrictions consist of the below:

  • Social family gatherings are suspended; weddings and funerals may take place but are capped at 25 attendees.
  • Residents must remain in their counties of residence unless traveling for work, education, or other essential purposes.
  • Organized indoor gatherings are suspended while outdoor gatherings are limited to 15 people.
  • Working from home is required whenever possible. Public transport capacity is limited to 50 percent; residents are advised to use public transport only for essential purposes.

Face masks are mandatory nationwide on public transport and in shops and other indoor settings. 

As of October 5, only travelers from Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Finland, Latvia, and Lichtenstein are allowed to enter the country without having to self-isolate upon arrival. All travelers, including Irish citizens, entering Ireland from other locations, must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. All travelers must also fill out a passenger locator form indicating the address where they will be staying.

As of Monday, October 19, health authorities have confirmed a total of 50,993 COVID-19 cases with 1852 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.

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