Restrictions on foreign visitors to continue in Ireland. Image Source: IANS News

Dublin, Sep 19 : Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin has declared a Level 3 response for the country's capital Dublin in order to suppress the rapid rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city over the past few weeks.

The Level 3 response, a new mechanism introduced by the Irish government to take corresponding restrictive measures according to the different risk levels of the pandemic in the country, took effect on Friday midnight and will remain in place for three weeks until October 9, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Without further urgent and decisive action, there is a very real threat that Dublin could return to the worst days of this crisis," said Martin while announcing the decision on Friday evening.

Under the Level 3 response, people living in or outside of Dublin are not permitted to leave or travel to the city with the exception of those who must travel for work, education and other essential purposes.

All indoor museums, galleries, cinemas and other cultural attractions will be closed.

Libraries will be available only for e-services and collection of books shall be made through phone calls in advance.

Restaurants and cafes, including pubs and bars serving food, are not allowed to provide dine-in services, but they can provide outdoor dining for a maximum of 15 people in addition to takeaway and delivery services.

Wet bars, referring to those not serving food, will also remain closed beyond September 21.

Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs may remain open, but with services limited to residents.

Public transport is available for use by essential workers and for essential work only.

People working in Dublin are asked to work from home unless absolutely necessary.

Matches or other sporting events will be banned with very few exceptions.

No organized indoor gatherings will be allowed, but outdoor gatherings are permitted with up to a maximum of 15 people.

No social or family gatherings should take place other than weddings and funerals, but the number of people at both will be restricted to 25 starting from September 21.

Visitors to private homes, including gardens, will be permitted from one other household only, and involve no more than six people including six.

Earlier this week, the Irish government unveiled a new medium-term plan to cope with the pandemic in the country for the next six to nine months, under which the risk of the pandemic in the country is rated at five levels with Level 1 being the lowest and having the least amount of restrictive measures in place and Level 5 being the highest and having the most restrictions in place.

Dublin is the first region rated at Level 3 since the introduction of the new system with the rest of Ireland currently at Level 2.

Dublin has seen a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

Of all the 2,626 confirmed cases reported in Ireland over the last 12 days, 1,445, or over 55 per cent, were reported in Dublin, according to the data from the Irish Department of Health.

Ireland reported its first confirmed case at the end of February.

So far there are 32,271 cases in the country with 1,792 fatalities.

 Latest updates on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text

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