TOUGH new lockdown measures are being implemented as the Covid-19 crisis continues to spiral out of all control in Kerry and throughout the country.
Nationally, an alarming 17 additional people have died and an unprecedented 7,836 new cases have been notified today with hospitals coming under mounting pressure.
A frightening 235 new cases – the highest daily number ever recorded – have been reported in Kerry alone over the past 24 hours and the number of new infections in the county in the past 14 days is 1,066.
Nationally, the total number of coronavirus fatalities since the start of the pandemic has now reached 2,299 and the number of confirmed infections has skyrocketed to 121,154.
There was a massive surge in the number of people admitted to hospital for coronavirus related complications with 954 in-patients and 88 of those in intensive care.
There have been 105 additional hospitalisations in the past 24 hours.
Of the cases notified today, 4,078 are female and 3,740 are male and 63 per cent are under the age of 45. The median age of those affected is 36.
2,263 of the cases reported today were in Dublin, 1,373 in Cork, 496 in Louth, 345 in Limerick and 340 in Meath with the remaining 3,019 cases spread across all other counties, including the 235 in Kerry where the total number of infections is now 2,659.
Department of Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said the country is in a serious phase of this surge of Covid-19 and there is evidence of an increasing presence of the rapidly spreading UK variant in Ireland.
“All counties have an upward trajectory of the disease. There is concerning escalation of admissions to hospital and ICU,’ he said.
Dr Holohan said Ireland is very likely to see escalating mortality and intensive care admissions in the coming days and weeks.
“It has never been more important, throughout our experience of this pandemic, to stay home and only meet people outside of your household for essential purposes,” he said.
In addition to a stay at home order issued today, the government announced that all schools must remain closed with teaching to switch online and the only exemptions being made are for children with special needs and Leaving Cert students who will return to the classroom three days a week. A review of the school closure decision will take place at the end of the month.
Crèches and other childcare services will remain open but only for vulnerable children and children of essential workers.
All construction sites, apart from those deemed to be critical infrastructure, likes schools and some social housing projects, will close from Friday until January 31.
All non-essential retail services must remain closed and click and collect from non-essential retail outlets is no longer be permitted with immediate effect.
No visitors are permitted in private homes or gardens except for essential family reasons such as providing care to the elderly, children or as part of a support bubble.
Extra garda resources have been approved to implement the enhanced restrictions.
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