Ireland, currently in full lockout, has just made official its wish to extend the lock-out until March 5, 2021. A decision that extends the lockout by 6 weeks, and which tends to maintain the level 5 restrictions already in place. This means that the whole country is at a standstill: schools remain closed, pubs and restaurants, as well as other companies and stores deemed non-essential have had to lower the curtain in hopes of better days.
The extension of the containment by 6 weeks was received without surprise by the Irish. The overflows linked to the Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations had caused a real explosion of Covid-19 cases on the island, propelling Ireland as the country with the worst contagion rate in Europe and the World at the beginning of January.
Since then, the Irish government has decided to review its record, opting for strict containment. For the Irish Prime Minister, the objective is clear: it is absolutely necessary to control the epidemic quickly, in order to hope for a return to normal for this summer. This is why it was agreed to strike hard: the Irish have been invited to stay home since December 24th . They are only allowed to go out in the context of essential travel, within a perimeter of 5km around their home.
The children are deprived of school. The construction sites are at a standstill. And the irish pubs and restaurants, already in a precarious situation, are forced to wait until they reopen soon.
As for travel, Ireland is looking into a strict policy: any irish person landing on irish soil will have to present a negative PCR test less than 3 days old. For those who have not been tested, a quarantine will then be mandatory, in hotels specifically requisitioned for the occasion. Finally, the government intends to introduce a system of fines for any Irish person who decides to sneak abroad to spend vacations in the sun.
These are very severe restrictions, which are intended to return to normal as soon as possible.
For information, the number of cases would be in clear decrease, and would have decreased by half in 10 days. Positive figures, which allow us to fall to 500 new coronavirus cases per day. Although these indicators are encouraging, the government has called on the Irish people not to slacken off and to remain in solidarity.
The message is clear: for the government, if everyone makes an effort, the situation can be resolved as quickly as possible, and allow everyone to return to normal for this summer. Confinement, coupled with a vaccination policy could even allow the resumption of travel… A sweet dream, which would seem attainable according to the Irish government…
Let’s keep our fingers crossed.