In a televised address to the nation, Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin urged citizens to “act now” in order to prevent an “immediate comprehensive lockdown”, as the country was readying for level three Covid-19 restrictions which will come into force from Wednesday.
“If we all act now we can stop the need to go further, with introducing level four and five restrictions,” the BBC quoted Martin as saying in his address on Monday night.
The Prime Minister said moving to level five could have “severe implications”, including the risk of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The challenge for his government “at this stage” was to be as “effective and proportionate as possible” in how it deals with the pandemic, he added.
Under the level three restriction, tighter limitations will be enforced on gatherings and people will be advised to work from home unless absolutely necessary.
It will also require sporting fixtures to take place behind closed doors, with only professional or elite sporting activities permitted.
Martin added that the restrictions will be reviewed in three weeks’ time.
Meanwhile, the Donegal and Dublin counties were already placed under level three restrictions in recent weeks, the BBC reported.
On Monday, Ireland reported were 518 new coronavirus cases, with no deaths.
The country’s overall caseload currently stands at 38,549 with a total of 1,810 fatalities.