Coronavirus: Republic of Ireland to close schools and colleges
Schools, colleges and other public facilities in the Republic of Ireland are to close in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Leo Varadkar said the measures take effect from 18:00 on Thursday until 29 March.
He said Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would be briefed on developments.
Tánaiste (Irish deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney said airports and ports will remain open.
Mr Varadkar added that indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 should be cancelled.
He said people should work remotely when possible.
The first death linked to coronavirus has been recorded in the Republic of Ireland.
The elderly woman died in a Dublin hospital on Wednesday.
Mr Varadkar said schools, colleges and childcare facilities will close from Friday and said the public and businesses needed to take a sensible approach.
The measures introduced in the Republic of Ireland will have a significant impact on Northern Ireland's border region, according to the managing director of O'Neill's sportswear firm.
It employs more than 750 staff at its factory in Strabane, County Tyrone, near the border with County Donegal in the Republic.
Kieran Kennedy said the measure will have a significant impact on staff.
"That will be very challenging for a lot of our staff. It will have a real impact on our manufacturing," he said.
The taoiseach said he realised the restrictions would be a "real shock".
"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.
In other developments:
- The UK government is expected to announce that it is stepping up its response to the coronavirus.
- Scottish Secretary Alister Jack suggested new UK measures could include requiring people to stay at home if they have a raised temperature combined with symptoms of a cold
- Barchester, which runs more than 200 care homes across the UK, has asked visitors to stay away
- A cabinet minister was confirmed as being in self-isolation while awaiting test results after coming into contact with minister Nadine Dorries, who has tested positive for the virus
- The Italian government forced all shops except food stores and pharmacies to close as the country strengthens its lockdown due to the virus
- Real Madrid footballers have gone into quarantine after a basketball player who shares training facilities with the La Liga club tested positive for the virus
- And McLaren have withdrawn from this weekend's Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to sign off plans to move from the "containment" phase of the outbreak to "delaRead More – Source