Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Ireland to maintain current COVID-19 restrictions through at least Aug. 10; significant business and travel disruptions remain.
- Alert Begins: 20 Jul 2020 12:00 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 10 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions
Authorities in Ireland have extended Phase 3 of the government's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan through at least Aug. 10 due to an increase in the number of infections. Phase 4 was previously scheduled to begin July 20. As of July 20, most businesses and activities are permitted to resume provided strict hygiene and social distancing requirements are implemented. Restrictions that remain in place include:
- Pubs, bars, and casinos remain closed.
- A ban is in place on gatherings of more than 50 people indoors and more than 200 people outdoors.
- Individuals must practice social distancing of 2 meters (6.5 feet) where possible.
- Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and other enclosed public spaces.
Ireland's borders remain open for international travel, though airports are operating a reduced schedule. Anyone entering Ireland from abroad will continue to be required to self-isolate for 14 days; residents of Northern Ireland, freight transport workers, maritime workers, and pilots are exempt from this measure. Public transport remains largely functional, though reduced service is enforced in some sectors.
Authorities previously announced intentions to begin easing COVID-19 restrictions in five stages May 18-Aug. 10, which will include a gradual lifting of measures limiting travel, gatherings, and business operations. Nonetheless, 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 recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.
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.