Ireland has today announced a nationwide shutdown over coronavirus.
Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar revealed schools, child care facilities, public offices and colleges are among the facilities that will close in a bid to stem the killer bug, which has killed more than 4,000 people worldwide.
Staff are being urged to work from home as the lockdown comes into effect from 6pm today.
The shutdown will last until March 29.
On Wednesday an elderly woman became the first person diagnosed with coronavirus in Ireland to die.
Varadkar said indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor meetings of more than 500 people should be cancelled.
Teaching will be done online or remotely. State-run “cultural institutions” will close.
“I know that some of this is coming as a real shock and it is going to involve big changes in the way we live our lives and I know I’m asking people to make enormous sacrifices but we’re doing it for each other,” Mr Varadkar said.
“Our economy will suffer but it will bounce back.
“Lost time in school or college will be recovered and in time our lives will go back to normal.
“Ireland is a great nation, we’re great people, we’ve experienced hardship and struggle before, we’ve overcome many trials in the past.”
Mr Varadkar said shops should remain open and public transport will continue to operate.
He said the government would implement all resources, which are “substantial but not unlimited”, into addressing the issue.