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World News

Ireland rejects health chiefs' lockdown call, tightens COVID-19 curbs

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin speaks to the media as he arrives for the second face-to-face European Union summit since the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brussels, Belgium October 1, 2020. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s government rejected a surprise recommendation by its health chiefs to go into lockdown and instead tightened COVID-19 restrictions across the country for three weeks, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday.

“If we do not alter these trends (of COVID-19 cases), there will be a serious impact. There is no doubt whatsoever about this, so we must respond and the challenge is to be as effective and proportionate as possible,” Martin said in a televised address, announcing the move to Level 3 restrictions.

“It is important to understand we are in a very different situation to last March,” he said. “Businesses are beginning to recover and vital public health services are still backlogged. Severe restrictions now would have a very damaging impact which those services and those businesses may not be able to recover from.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Leslie Adler

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