The Republic of Ireland has called on bars and pubs to close until the end of March in an effort to slow down the progression of the coronavirus which has now claimed the life of a second person in the country.
The plans to help curb the spread of the virus, which come just days before St Patrick’s Day, aim to see all public houses and bars close from this evening until at least March 29.
The government’s move comes as the virus claimed the life of a second person in the country and 40 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed – bringing the total number of people affected in the Republic to 169.
Among the new cases, which include 23 males and 17 females, 25 are associated with the east of the country, nine are associated with the west and six are associated with the south.
In a statement the Government said: ‘Following discussions today with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), the Government is now calling on all public houses and bars (including hotel bars) to close from this evening (March 15) until at least March 29.
The Republic of Ireland government has asked that bars and pubs in the country close until at least March 29 in an effort to slow down the progression of the coronavirus. (Stock image)
Earlier today the Irish Prime Minsiter Leo Varadkar urged people to refrain from mass gatherings to stop the spread of Covid-19
The calls comes after The Temple Bar in Dublin (pictured) announced that it would be shutting down all its bars and nightclubs with immediate effect
‘The LVA and VFI outlined the real difficulty in implementing the published Guidelines on Social Distancing in a public house setting, as pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction in a situation where alcohol reduces personal inhibitions.
‘For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other peoples’ health at risk.’
The plans comes as Dublin’s Temple Bar announced a complete shutdown of all its bars and nightclubs with immediate effect.
The move means no bars will be open in the area for St Patrick’s Day, one of the busiest days in the Irish tourism calendar.
Martin Harte, of the Temple Bar Company, said the decision was taken voluntarily and that ‘this is the owners of all pubs sitting down and deciding this is the best thing to do in terms of public health and safety’.
Pictured: The Temple Bar in Dublin told customers that they were following the government’s advice and closing
The latest calls to shut down bars and pubs comes as the number of deaths due to the cornavirus in the Rupublic of Ireland rose to two. Pictured: The Quays Bar in Dublin closes its doors
The Republic of Ireland has called on all bars and pubs in the country to close. Pictured: Visitors stand outside The Quays Bar in Dublin as the government asks for pubs to shut down
Mr Harte said the problem is that social distancing and limiting of numbers is impossible to enforce in bars.
It comes as the Irish Government may seek enforcement powers to ensure that the ban on indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs and clubs.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has urged people who socialised in pubs and clubs at the weekend to avoid the elderly and people with chronic diseases, to stop the spread of Covid-19.
WHAT ARE THE CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS?
The new virus, called COVID-19, is transmitted from person to person via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes.
It can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles or railings.
Coronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Mild cases can cause cold-like symptoms including a sore throat, headache, fever, cough or trouble breathing.
Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory illness, kidney failure and death.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
He tweeted: ‘No indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs & clubs. Have asked NPHET for further expert guidance on this. May seek enforcement powers from Dail/Seanad.’
His message comes despite restrictions on mass gatherings in the Republic of Ireland and guidelines on social distancing.
On Saturday night, Health Service Executive chief Paul Reid also urged pubs to ‘wise up quick’ after videos of people crowding into them.
Some pubs and bars across the country have voluntarily opted to temporarily close as the Department of Health advised people should try to keep two metres between themselves and others.
On Sunday morning, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said: ‘The advice on what each of us needs to do is clear, we all need to follow that advice, not just for our own health, but for the benefit of all those around us.’
‘Each one of us needs to think of vulnerable people in our midst and ask ourselves what we can do to help them through this.’
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald urged people to avoid socialising in pubs and to keep all social contact to a minimum.
Hospitality Ulster chief executive Colin Neill called on the industry to introduce social distancing in Northern Ireland to limit the spread of Covid-19.
‘The health of the nation is paramount, as is the health of our staff, but it is also important that we try and ensure people will have jobs to return to once this crisis is over,’ he said.
On Monday, the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced that all parades and festivals in the Republic would be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Some festivals in Northern Ireland are still set to go ahead but are under review over the spread of COVID-19.
Latest statistics show that the number of cases in the Republic of Ireland have now risen to 169.
The latest calls to shut down bars and pubs come just a few days before St Patrick’s Day. Pictured: Revellers celebrate St Patrick’s Day early by attending the Otley Run in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Many St Patrick’s Day parades and festivals have been forced to cancel plans due to coronavirus fears. Pictured: Revellers attend St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin
It comes as the the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland rose to 45.
Meanwhile in Wales there were 34 new cases today, pushing its total to 94. A huge jump from 60.
Today it was announced that coronavirus fatalities in the UK have increased by 14 overnight bringing the total death toll to 35 as the number of cases increases by more than 200 to 1,372, the department of health and social care confirmed.
A total of 40,279 people have been tested across the UK and the latest update comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning said that the elderly may have to self isolate for up to four months.
38,907 tested negative against the disease and 1,372 tested positive.
The virus, which initially saw millions of residents and tourists in China put on lock down to contain the spread, has now been transmitted between humans in 30 countries across Europe, including Spain, Germany and France, according to the World Health Organization.
CDC: HOW TO SLOW THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD