The Irish government has announced a number of new restrictive health measures in order to control the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 during the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays.
According to a statement issued by the government, starting from December 20, all restaurants and bars, excluding takeaways and delivery services, must close at 8 p.m. and there should be no indoor events after 8 p.m. except wedding receptions, reports Xinhua news agency.
But the wedding receptions must not receive more than 100 guests, said the statement.
For the indoor events already scheduled, attendance should be limited to 50 percent of venue capacity or 1,000 people, whichever is lower, it added.
The new measures, which will last until January 30, 2022, also rule that attendance at outdoor events should be limited to 50 per cent of the venue capacity or 5,000 people, whichever is lower.
According to the new measures, close contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19, who have received a booster shot at least one week ago, will have to restrict their movement for five days and take three antigen tests.
For those who have not received a booster shot, they must restrict movement for ten days with the number of Covid-19 tests required yet to be decided, said the statement.
As for international travel, all passengers arriving in Ireland are now advised to conduct antigen testing on a daily basis for five consecutive days commencing on the day of their arrival, said the statement, adding that the existing public health requirements for international travellers will remain unchanged.
Ireland now demands all passengers arriving from overseas to provide a proof of a negative result from an antigen test taken within 48 hours before their arrival or a PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival, depending on their vaccination, recovery or unvaccinated status.
The Irish Department of Health on Friday reported an additional 3,628 confirmed cases of Covid-19, taking the overall total to 644,143.
“Approximately 35 per cent of reported cases are now due to the Omicron variant,” said the department.
The death toll stood at 5,835.