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No more visits from family or friends under new Covid rules

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Shoppers wear masks while strolling in Grafton Street yesterday

Shoppers wear masks while strolling in Grafton Street yesterday

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Shoppers wear masks while strolling in Grafton Street yesterday

Visits to other households will be banned for the entire country from tonight under new Covid-19 regulations.

The only visits allowed will be those for essential reasons, such as childcare, or on compassionate grounds.

Up to six people from two different households can meet outdoors, but they must maintain social distancing of two metres.

The measure comes as the Cabinet last night signed off on Level 4 restrictions for Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.

For these border counties it means that as well as a ban on household visits, weddings will be reduced to six people.

Hairdressers and barbers will have to close, and pubs and restaurants will only be allowed to provide delivery and takeaway service.

The move to Level 4 for Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan will come into effect from midnight tonight and will remain in place until November 10.

The decision to increase restrictions in some border counties follows the closure of schools, pubs and restaurants in the North, where cases of Covid-19 continue to soar.

Last night, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the rest of the country will remain on Level 3, but with a new ban on household visits.

"The Government has decided that we must bring in additional national restrictions within Level 3 and these include, but are not limited to, no visitors to homes or gardens except for instan- ces where care is being given, and these will be made clear," he said.

"Up to six people from two homes can meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing."

Concerning sport, Mr Martin said: "The exemption for the club championship will be removed and sporting bodies will be informed that if they cannot maintain protective measures in outdoor training, then such training should cease."

On the issue of people travelling to work, he said: "We will be re-emphasising to businesses that employees should not travel to their workplace unless they absolutely have to."

The Government will also try to steer many sectors away from the use of visors and towards face masks.

The Cabinet decided to tighten restrictions after 1,095 new infections were announced yesterday - a record number in a 24-hour period.

There were five more deaths from the virus.

Wards

Hospitalisations also increased, and as of 2pm yesterday, 232 Covid-19 patients were being treated in wards.

Of those, 30 were in intensive care.

Nine more patients were admitted to hospital over the previous 24 hours.

"Today, we again report a daily new confirmed case figure over 1,000," said Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan

"This situation is extremely concerning.

"Every single one of us has a role to play. We each need to reduce contact with other people as much as possible, so that means staying at home, working from home where possible, practising physical distancing and stopping discretionary socialising."

His deputy, Dr Ronan Glynn, said: "People must recognise that the disease is a direct threat to themselves and their families. Now is the time for each of us to act."

Cavan had the highest 14-day incidence rate in the country at 571 cases per 100,000 of population.

This was followed by Monaghan at 360 per 100,000 and Donegal at 353.7.

Clare, Meath, Cork, Sligo, Limerick, Roscommon, Kildare, Dublin, Longford, Wexford, Galway, Westmeath, Louth, Kerry, Leitrim, Offaly, Laois and Kilkenny all have incidence rates over 100 per 100,000.

Only five counties are below that level - Mayo, Tipperary, Carlow, Wicklow and Waterford.

Yesterday's newly-diagnosed cases included 246 in Dublin, 185 in Meath, 128 in Cavan, 118 in Cork and 63 in Kildare.

The other 342 cases were spread across the rest of the country.