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Donegal moved to tougher Covid-19 restrictions as all household visits in the county are banned

Measures introduced as part of efforts to slow the spread of the disease

BREAKING: Tighter Covid-19 restrictions announced by the Taoiseach

'We have come to a difficult point in that journey' - Taoiseach Micheal Martin at the briefing.

The Irish government has banned all household visits from midnight tonight for four weeks, except on compassionate grounds and for essential reasons, such as childcare.

This ban on visits includes homes and gardens, but up to six people from two households can meet in other outdoor settings while maintaining physical distancing as part of the enhanced Level 3 restrictions.

Government ministers have also decided to move Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan to Level 4 Covid-19 restrictions for a four-week period from midnight.

The other border counties, Louth and Leitrim, are to remain at Level 3.

The decisions have been taken following the introduction of further restrictions in Northern Ireland where pubs and restaurants will close for four weeks, with the exception of takeaways and deliveries.

Schools in Northern Ireland will also shut for two weeks in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

At a briefing following the publication of the latest statistics in relation to Covid- 19 cases, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said: "We are on a journey with this virus and we have come to a difficult point in that journey".

A total of 1,095 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported this Wednesday evening - the highest number reported on a single day in the state since the start of the pandemic.

"The government has decided that we must bring in additional national restrictions within Level Three and these include, but are not limited to: No visitors to homes or garden except for instances where care is being given and these will be made clear.

"Up to six people from two homes can meet outdoors while maintaining social distancing," said Mr Martin.

"We will be re-emphasizing to businesses that employees should not travel to their workplace unless they absolutely have to."

The Taoiseach said that while "Halloween itself isn't cancelled" people should not go knocking on doors. He said there are other ways of enjoying Halloween.

With regard to sport, the Taoiseach said: "The exemption for club championship will be removed and sporting bodies will be informed that if they cannot maintain protective measures in outdoor training, then such training should cease."

The intercounty championship remains unaffected by the new restrictions. 

The Cabinet last night signed off Level Four restrictions for Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal meaning much tighter rules for those three counties compared to the rest of the country.

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