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Republic's pubs to remain closed amid signs of new spike in cases

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Plans to reopen pubs across Ireland next week have been put on hold for the second time.

Pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will now remain closed until a review at the end of the month.

New restrictions forcing restaurants and pubs serving food to shut at 11pm were also announced by Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

He said there was "worrying evidence" of an increase in transmission of coronavirus.

"I wish I was in a position to share better news today, but I am not," Mr Martin said, explaining that the 14-day incidence per 100,000 people is 7.54, up from 2.46 in the 14 days up to June 30.

"Given these figures and the international trend of increased transmission, the government has made a number of decisions today based on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team.

"I know that this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people.

"The cabinet has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place.

"The current restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged. We will review the evidence again in three weeks. I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners and I want them to know that I have enormous sympathy for their plight.

"This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living. It is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities, especially in rural Ireland.

"We're doing what we're doing to save lives and to give our society and economy the best chance we can to reopen safely and sustainably."

Under the terms of the new rules, outdoor gatherings will remain limited to 200, not increased to 500, as hoped.

It was also confirmed that face coverings would become mandatory in shops and shopping centres across the Republic from August 10.

The so-called green list of countries that can be travelled to and from without movement restrictions has been shortened from the previous 15 to 10.

The countries removed from the list were Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino.

The Republic's government repeated its message that people should stay at home and not travel abroad.

Belfast Telegraph