Ireland announced its strictest lockdown measures as a “tsunami” of infections caused by a new COVID-19 variant pushed hospitalisations to a record high and sparked fears the healthcare system could be overwhelmed.
Ireland’s 14-day infection rate has quadrupled in the past 10 days. Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference, “Already exhausted healthcare workers now face a tsunami of infection even greater than the first wave.”
The Chief Medical Officer said Ireland is in a serious phase of the latest surge of Covid-19, with the country likely to see escalating mortality and hospital ICU admissions in the coming days and weeks.
In a bid to regain control, the government on Wednesday ordered the closure of most schools and construction sites for at least three weeks, tightening a lockdown that has already closed most hospitality and retail outlets and banned household visits.