Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Ireland extends COVID-19-related restrictive measures until May 18. Non-essential businesses and educational institutions remain closed.

This alert affects Ireland

This alert began 04 May 2020 09:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 18 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 18
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions

Authorities in Ireland have extended nationwide restrictions implemented to combat COVID-19. The measures, which were scheduled for review May 5, will now remain in force through at least May 18.

The restrictions require residents to remain at their homes unless performing essential tasks, such as shopping for basic necessities, attending to medical needs, or traveling to or from employment at an essential business or organization. Individuals may also engage in brief outdoor exercise, provided they do so alone or with members of their household only. From May 5, officials are extending the distance individuals may travel from their home while taking exercise from 2 km (1.2 miles) to 5 km (3.1 miles). Anyone entering Ireland from abroad will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days; residents of Northern Ireland, freight transport workers, maritime workers, and pilots are exempt.

Authorities maintain the ban on gatherings of more than four people in public and the closure of most nonessential businesses, educational facilities, and public locations. 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.

Authorities announced intentions to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions in five stages from May 18-Aug. 10 which will include a gradual lifting of measures limiting travel, gatherings, and business operations. However, any easing of restrictions will depend on the evolution of disease activity in the country. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions 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.

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.

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