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Ireland to go into six-week Covid-19 lockdown from midnight on Wednesday

Sinn Fein calls on government to ensure children and staff are safe in schools in creches after data shows spike in coronavirus cases

IRELAND will enter a second national lockdown for the next six weeks from midnight tomorrow night in another bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Premier Micheal Martin announced the country was being placed into the government’s highest level of restrictions under its five-tiered plan after the Star had gone to press on Monday.

Under the new restrictions, which will last until December 1, people are being asked to stay at home, with exercise permitted within a 5km (3.1-mile) radius.

Only essential workers whose physical presence is required in the workplace are permitted to travel to work. Those who can work from home must do so.

No social or family gatherings will be allowed in homes or gardens but visits on compassionate grounds and for caring purposes can continue.

Restaurants, cafes and bars will be permitted to provide takeaway services only and only essential shops may remain open.

Schools and creches will remain open, however, because “we cannot and will not allow our children and young people’s futures to be another victim of this disease,” Mr Martin said.

Sinn Fein’s spokeswoman for workers’ rights Louise O’Reilly called on the government to ensure that schools and creches were safe for staff and children.

Ms O’Reilly’s call comes in the light of data she received from Ireland’s public health service showing that 204 Covid-19 cases have been detected in schools and creches since they reopened.

“Many workers have reached out directly to me to express their concern at the levels of mass testing in the sector, the lack of hot water in schools, the lack of proper ventilation of schools and classrooms as we head into winter, and the need for more PPE to be made available,” she said.
 
“The situation revealed by this data, combined with the calls of childcare workers and teachers, underlines the requirement for greater safety measures for creches and schools. This means early and meaningful engagement with the stakeholders and their representatives.

“It also reinforces the need for Covid-19 to be designated a workplace injury if contracted at work.

“So far, the government has refused to act on this and, as a result, I have introduced legislation in the Dail to do just this.”

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