Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking this evening in Government buildings.

Government confirms Level 5 restrictions for six weeks

The entire country is to be put on Level Five restrictions from Wednesday night until the end of November, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin has officially confirmed in a live broadcast in the past few minutes.

The Cabinet agreed the move earlier today to ramp up restrictions for a period of six weeks in a bid to curb growing Coronavirus numbers and ease pressure on our hospital system during the busy Winter period.

Outlining the country's journey with the virus to date, he said: "There are no laws or powers that can change the nature of this virus."

He said the Government had moved to open up the economy when it could and to shut down parts when needed.

He said this is the reality of the virus across the world, stating: "Until we have a safe vaccine, we must continue in that pattern."

He said the Government had now decided the entire country should move to Level 5.

"The Government had decided that the evidence of a potentially grave situation arising in the weeks ahead is now too strong."

The Taoiseach said: "I am asking everyone again to take this threat seriously."

Under the plan, creches and schools will remain open.

All non-essential businesses are to close; though the construction sector will remain open; and people will only be allowed to exercise within five kilometres of their homes.

Weddings will stay at 25 guests until the end of the year.

There will be improvements to the pandemic unemployment payments and Employment Wage Subsidy Schemes in light of the new restrictions.

And he introduced the concept of a social bubble - which would allow people living alone, parenting alone or at risk of social isolation to pair with one other household.

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