Ireland begins the first phase of lockdown ease

Published on : Monday, May 18, 2020

Ireland has finally decided to take the initial steps towards lifting its coronavirus lockdown. The country has decided to undertake a five-phase lockdown exit plan. The first phase of the plan begins today, May 18. The new plan would allow people to access the streets while observing strict social distancing measures.

Residents have also been given permission to meet in groups consisting of not more than four people. They have also been to maintain a 6 feet difference between one another. Construction workers, gardeners, and people associated with allotments are allowed to return to work starting Monday. The country has also decided to reopen certain retail outlets as well as garden centers, hardware stores, farmers’ markets, opticians, and mechanics. People have also been allowed to engage in sports activities like golf and tennis. Other outdoor activities are also likely to resume gradually.

However, the first major ease of restrictions comes with few limitations. Citizens have been urged to strictly adhere to social distancing norms. The use of masks or face coverings is mandatory especially in enclosed indoor areas such as shops as well as in public transports. The decision to ease lockdown restrictions arrived after the country recorded 64 new cases of COVID-19 infections of Sunday, the lowest since the month of March. According to reports, the graph of coronavirus infections in Ireland has also started showing a downward trajectory.

However, Health Minister Simon Harris has urged people to proceed towards the lockdown with utmost caution and warned that the country can end up if in a bad place if people try to go beyond the allowed activities. He said that Ireland continues to be in a danger phase and the current time is a crucial moment for the country. He mentioned that numerous sacrifices have already been made to fight against the deadly virus and requested people to not defer the rules.

At present, Ireland is completing approximately 4000 tests each day, 98% are now tested negative. The new record shows that the positivity rate is down by 2% as compared to mid-April. The country is now capable to carry out around 100,000 people per week. As the first phase of lockdown restrictions begin to ease, new testing and tracing target operations are being undertaken by the country.

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