Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ireland extends COVID-19 related restrictive measures until May 5. Non-essential businesses, educational institutions remain closed.

This alert affects Ireland

This alert began 10 Apr 2020 16:34 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 5
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Ireland have extended nationwide restrictions implemented to combat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measures, which were originally slated to expire April 12, will now remain in force through at least May 5.

The regulation requires residents to remain at their homes unless performing essential tasks, such as shopping for basic necessities, attending to medical needs, or traveling to and from employment at an essential business or organization. Individuals may also engage in brief outdoor exercise, provided they do so alone or with other members of their own household. The regulation includes a movement restriction instructing residents to remain within 2 km (1.2 miles) of their homes. Anyone entering Ireland from abroad will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days; residents of Northern Ireland, freight transporters, maritime workers and pilots are exempt.

All universities, schools, and childcare facilities will remain closed until at least May 5. In addition, authorities have banned groups of more than four people from appearing in public. Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open, but nonessential businesses, educational facilities, and most public locations are closed. Public transport remains largely functional, though reduced service is enforced in some sectors. Airports in the country remain open, although with a severely reduced schedule. The government has stressed the requirement to maintain supply chains, particularly of essential goods. Further restrictive and preventative measures are possible in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Government of Ireland: www.gov.ie

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int