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Ireland extends coronavirus lockdown to May 18 as PM gives first details for easing restrictions

Ireland extends coronavirus lockdown to May 18 as PM gives first details for easing restrictions

The Irish government on Friday announced a further extension to the country’s lockdown measures, with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar saying they would remain in place until May 18; then first steps to ease restrictions will be made.

Varadkar said the Irish economy would reopen in five stages, with each successive easing dependent on the level of coronavirus infections being kept under control. The current travel limit for personal exercise will be extended from two to five kilometers from Tuesday, while people aged over 70 – who have been advised since late March by government health officials to ‘cocoon’ at home – may leave their homes for a walk or drive.

Businesses forced to close under the current lockdown regime will reopen in phases, but schools and colleges won’t until the new academic year starts in September, Varadkar said.

Since the start of the outbreak, Ireland has recorded over 20,800 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 1,265 deaths. Almost half of those deaths occurred in care homes.