100 days since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Ireland, the disease has been suppressed with the start of the second phase of the release of the severe locking restrictions
Nearly three months after the State was wound up, today will move to Phase 2 of next Monday’s plan, or Phase 2 Plus, as the Taoiseach called it after announcing the release of more restrictions than as planned.
The shops in the country are now open again and people are also allowed to visit others in their homes and travel further afield.
100 days since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Ireland, the disease has been suppressed but there is still the risk of another outbreak.
Shops all over the country were preparing over the weekend to open today for the first time since March as they made arrangements to comply with the public health advice and Government guidelines on social exclusion.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stated that the campaign against the future of the virus will no longer be government rules “but a long-term change in how we live”.
It was a day of hope, he said in announcing the release of restrictions.
At least 2,216 people have died in Ireland since the start of the pandemic, 1,679 people south of the border and 537 north of it.
The Southern Department of Health announced yesterday afternoon that one other person with Covid-19 had died and 25 new cases of the disease had been confirmed.
No further deaths were announced yesterday by the Northern Health Department and only six new cases were confirmed in the north. The number of deaths in the north is estimated to be much higher than 537.
There have been 29,997 confirmed cases of Covid-19 disease in Ireland to date, 25,201 cases south of the border and 4,796 cases in the north.
Plans for the reopening of the country are progressing today with the four-phase abolition plan announced last month.
The lock is being released at a time when talks between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party regarding the formation of a new government are still ongoing. The leaders of these parties met yesterday and a joint statement sent out later stated that the meeting had been beneficial. It is four months today since the general election was held.
Instead of ‘Stay at Home’ the advice is now ‘Stay in the Area’ as the 5-kilometre border is now closed and between now and St. Peter’s Day, June 29, you can go anywhere in your county or to another county if it is within 20 kilometres of your home
Up to six short visits to another family can be just two meters away.
People who are at high risk of the virus due to age, treatment or other conditions, a small number of people may visit them in their own home.
These visitors must wear gloves and masks and stay two meters away from the person who was assigned.
The shops will be asked to set aside a special time for the elderly and to provide any other vulnerable person with gloves. Customers should wear a mask or front cover in the shop.
Shops that have a door on the street may open today but the number of people in at any one time must be kept in mind and social attention is taken into account.
Marts will also have open access provided they have the ability to apply social segregation.
From today, 25 people will be allowed to attend a funeral instead of the ten that have been approved since the restrictions were introduced.
Amusement parks will also open today but need supervision and cleaning.
It was also announced that summer camps could be organized with no more than 15 people in any one group.
Ministers in the Stormont Executive have also today released some of the restrictions in force north of the border.
About 80,000 people in the most vulnerable groups of the Covid-19 will be allowed to go outdoors with their family members and meet one person from another home.
Some non-food stores may reopen – car showrooms, electrical outlets, phone shops and the like.
Outdoor sports courts, horse trainers and dog groomers can open from Monday.
Marriage ceremonies and civil partnerships may be held outdoors with a maximum attendance of ten.
Hotels will be allowed to accept advance bookings until their open permit in July.
People in the north and south are constantly being asked to adhere to the policies that have helped prevent the spread of the disease to date, social isolation, hand washing and self-isolation.
“It is the personal behaviour of the person who will prevent this disease in the future,” said the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan.