Ireland tightens Dublin virus restrictions

Ireland has recorded average daily COVID-19 case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks.
Ireland has recorded average daily COVID-19 case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks.

The Irish government has announced strict new COVID-19 restrictions for the capital Dublin, banning indoor restaurant dining and advising against all non-essential travel, after a surge in cases in recent days.

Ireland, which was one of the slowest countries in Europe to emerge from lockdown, has recorded average daily case numbers roughly double in the past two weeks and significant increases in those being treated for the virus in hospitals.

"Here in the capital, despite people's best efforts over recent weeks, we are in a very dangerous place," prime minister Micheal Martin said in a televised address to the country, announcing the restrictions.

"Without further urgent and decisive action, there is a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis."

The measures, which include a ban on indoor events, will last for three weeks, he said.

Ireland had the 17th highest COVID-19 infection rate out of 31 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control on Friday, with 57.4 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.

The government reported three deaths from the virus on Friday, bringing the total toll to 1792.

Australian Associated Press