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Ireland limits travel to 3 miles in strict COVID-19 lockdown as cases surge

No social or family gatherings will be allowed in homes or private gardens, but schools will remain open to prioritize education.

Ireland’s government is putting the country at its highest level of coronavirus restrictions for six weeks in a bid to combat a rise in infections.

Premier Micheal Martin said Monday the measures take effect at midnight Wednesday and run until Dec. 1.

People are being asked to stay at home, with exercise allowed only within a 3-mile radius of their home. Only essential stores can open. Restaurants and bars can provide only takeaway service. No social or family gatherings will be allowed in homes or private gardens, but schools will remain open to prioritize education.

The Guardian reports a graduated fine system will be levied for people who break the 3-mile limit. Accommodations will be made for people living or parenting alone.

Ireland -- population 4.9 million -- had reached nearly 51,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Monday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. But after a relatively quiet summer, with cases rarely passing 50 per day, there has been a noticeable surge since the start of September. Ireland recorded at least 1,000 new cases in five of the past 10 days. Prior to that, it had only recorded two days over 1,000 cases this year.

Credit: AP
Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin leaves the building during departures at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. European Union leaders met for the second day of an EU summit, amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, to discuss topics on foreign policy issues. (Johanna Geron, Pool via AP)

Elsewhere, Argentina became the fifth country to record 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, joining the United States, India, Brazil and Russia. Spain, Colombia and France are on pace to reach the 1 million mark soon as cases worldwide surge.

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