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Ireland will be plunged into one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe for six weeks from midnight on Wednesday, despite no Covid-19 deaths having been recorded today. 

Cabinet ministers today agreed to impose Level 5 restrictions which will force most businesses to close, prevent mass gatherings and limit free movement across the Republic until December 1.

Under the new measures, the public will be told to ‘stay at home, except to exercise within 5 kilometres of your home’ and work from home unless they are key workers.

Public gatherings except for groups of 10 at at funerals and 25 at weddings will be banned, and only essential shops will be allowed to stay open. 

Construction will be permitted, but pubs, restaurants and cafes will only be able to provide takeaways and deliveries.  

Ireland has recorded a total of 49,962 cases, with another 1,283 infections added to that tally in the last 24 hours. However, fatalities remain low with just three deaths recorded on Sunday. 

There have been no new deaths today. 

Of the new cases, 235 were in Dublin, 232 in Cork, 60 in Galway, 47 in Limerick, 47 in Kerry, and the remaining 410 cases were spread across 21 counties. As of 2pm this afternoon, 298 people with Covid-19 were in hospitals, including 34 people in intensive care units.

It comes as Wales was plunged into a two-week ‘firebreak’ lockdown which will see bars, restaurants and all non-essential shops close from 6pm on Friday.

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