Ireland's Government has ordered all its pubs to close their doors at midnight tonight.
In a statement released today, the government called on pubs and bars to shut from midnight until “at least March 29”.
The drastic measure was announced in a bid to keep people safe during the coronavirus crisis.
It added: “For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other peoples’ health at risk.
“The Government, having consulted with the Chief Medical Officer, believes that this is an essential public health measure given the reports of reckless behaviour by some members of the public in certain pubs last night.
“While the Government acknowledges that the majority of the public and pub owners are behaving responsibly, it believes it is important that all pubs are closed in advance of St Patricks’ Day.”
The Irish Government is not delaying in taking action after the number of cases rose to 129 in the Republic with two having died from the disease.
It comes one day after the UK Government leaked that pubs would be asked to shut their doors in the coming days as part of extraordinary moves to contain the coronavirus.
The temporary closure of pubs, bars and restaurants is one of a series of extreme measures being prepared by the government to prevent the healthcare system from being devastated by COVID-19.
It will come into effect some time after next weekend, when the ban on mass public gatherings is enforced, according to ITV's political editor Robert Peston.
The hashtag #CloseThePubs had already been circulating on social media for much of yesterday, with many Brits calling for drinking establishments to shut their doors and encourage social distancing.
Other measures include hotels and other buildings being repurposed as makeshift hospitals, private hospitals being requisitioned as emergency hospitals and the manufacturing of respirators for the acutely ill.
Some schools will also be closed for perhaps a few weeks, with a skeleton staff continuing to work and provide childcare for NHS workers and members of the police.
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