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Rising numbers of infections: Ireland imposes a month-long lockdown

Just a few weeks ago, Ireland had one of the lowest corona infection rates in Europe. The number of new infections in the country has been rising rapidly since Christmas, which is why the government is now pulling the emergency brake.

In view of the steep rise in the number of infections in Ireland, the government has imposed a one-month lockdown. After relatively few new infections in the country, the number had skyrocketed after Christmas.

The situation is very serious, said Prime Minister Michael Martin in the evening. “The numbers will continue to deteriorate in the coming days.” Given the speed at which the corona virus is spreading, the brake must be pulled, said Martin.

Ireland’s health authorities registered 1718 new corona infections today, the second high in a row – with a population of just 4.9 million people. At the beginning of the second wave, Ireland opted for a hard lockdown early on and thus managed to significantly reduce the number of new infections. The current increase is now exceeding the most negative predictions, so Martin.

Strong increase since Christmas

The lockdown that has been decided is similar to a curfew. This means that private visits are just as prohibited as public gatherings – there are only exceptions for weddings with up to six and funerals with up to ten people. People should only leave their homes for work, education and other necessary purposes. Outdoor sports are permitted within a five-kilometer radius of the apartment. The school start after the Christmas holidays will be postponed by three days to January 11th.

Just a few weeks ago, Ireland had one of the lowest infection rates in Europe. However, since the government eased restrictions before Christmas, the five-day average has more than tripled in the past two weeks. According to Martin, the new Corona variant, which was discovered in Great Britain, also plays a role in the rapidly increasing number of infections. The prime minister said he believed the mutation was spreading “much, much faster,” which threatened to overload the health system.

“Very hard for everyone”

The health authorities are also warning of this, according to which the number of corona patients treated in the hospital has almost doubled in the past week. Without additional measures, the number of cases could therefore double every seven to ten days.

The coming month will be “very hard for everyone,” said Martin. But thanks to the vaccines there is hope. “For the first time since this terrible disease struck our country, the end is in sight.” He is confident that tens of thousands of people in Ireland will be vaccinated by the end of January.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic on December 30, 2020 at 9:00 p.m.

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