EXPLAINER: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions?

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EXPLAINER: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions?

Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the latest restrictions this Wednesday afternoon

The Government has announced a series of new Covid-19 restrictions to tackle Ireland's surge in cases of the disease.

The measures were agreed by Cabinet this Wednesday afternoon and will be in place until at least the end of January.

As had been flagged, all schools will remained closed until February 1 at the earliest, except for special schools and for Leaving Cert students who can attend three days a week starting from January 11.

Non-essential construction work will have to finish at 6pm on Friday, while certain essential construction projects will be exempt including health projects specific to Covid-19, housing adaptation grants, repairs critical maintenance for rail and utility projects and roads.

Childcare services, including regulated childminders, will remain closed with the exception of services for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.

Other existing childcare arrangements can continue to operate for vulnerable children and children of essential workers only.

In addition, a household of an essential worker, without an existing childcare arrangement, can form a bubble with another household for the purpose of providing childcare. The resumption of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is delayed until 1st February.

Click and collect from non-essential retail outlets is no longer permitted with immediate effect. Existing orders may be collected, while click and deliver services will continue to be permitted.

The government also agreed that the current travel moratorium in place for travel from Great Britain and South Africa is extended until midnight Friday, January 8.

From January 9, all passengers arriving at Irish airports and ports whose journey originates in Great Britain or South Africa will be requested to have evidence of a negative result from a PCR Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. This new mandatory requirement will be in place until January 31, and will be kept under review in light of the evolving epidemiological situation.

At a media conference at Government Buildings, the Taoiseach appealed to people to "forget about takeaway pints" - a phenomenon which has become increasingly popular in recent months.

“Nobody should be selling takeaway alcohol, it leads to gatherings," he said.

More information on the latest Level 5 restrictions can be found here.