Ireland To Impose Six-Week Nationwide Lockdown

The New York Times reports:

The government of Ireland announced a six-week lockdown beginning Wednesday night, becoming the first European country to reimpose a national lockdown.

The new measures, announced on Monday, are a dramatic U-turn for the government, which just two weeks ago fell short of imposing the highest level of restrictions despite advice from public health experts.

Under the new restrictions, nonessential shops will be closed and people will be urged to stay at home, with the exception of exercise that must take place no more than three miles from home. Restaurants will be limited to takeout or delivery.

The Guardian reports:

In a sombre address to announce the restrictions the taoiseach, Micheál Martin [photo], said he understood there would be disappointment, loneliness and despair but that there was hope.

“If we pull together over the next six weeks we will be able to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way … the journey will not be easy but the future is in our hands. We must each dig deep and persevere.”

Martin said the government had rejected a strategy of zero Covid as unrealistic and a strategy of herd immunity as unethical. Periodic lockdowns may become the norm, he suggested.