Taoiseach exempts ‘farming activities’ from tighter Covid-19 restrictions

Farming activities have been named as exempt from a series of tighter Government restrictions to be implemented in order to protect the nation’s citizens from Covid-19.

Speaking at a press briefing in Government Buildings tonight, Friday, March 27, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar delivered stark details on the latest ramped up measures to be implemented over the coming hours.

“With effect from midnight tonight, for a two-week period until Easter Sunday, April 12, everybody must stay at home in all circumstances, except for the following situations…[including] for farming purposes; that is food production and the care of animals,” said the Taoiseach.

Other exemptions named by the Taoiseach include: for the purposes of travelling to and from work – only where work is in essential health, social care or other essential services that cannot be done from home.

(A full list of essential services will be provided by Government tomorrow.)

“To shop for food and household goods or to collect a meal. To attend medical appointments and collect medicines and other health products.

“For vital family reasons – such as to provide care to children, the elderly or vulnerable people.

“To take brief periods of physical exercise within 2km of your own home, which may include children from your own household, as long as you adhere to 2m physical distancing.”

Reducing the storm

The Fine Gael leader was speaking shortly after the Department of Health reported that 302 new cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total number of cases to 2,121. Three more people have died here, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 22.

The Taoiseach said: “At the beginning of this emergency I told you there would be difficult days ahead; we knew that the virus would spread in our country, that tragically many of our citizens would suffer and that some would not survive.

“I said that we would do all we could to protect the health of our citizens, to prepare our health service and support our health care staff and to try to cushion the blow to our economy, our businesses and your livelihoods.”

Today, with cross-part support, the Oireachtas passed further emergency legislation.

“This will help businesses to keep their staff in work. It will increase social welfare payments to those that have lost their jobs as a result of the emergency – including the self-employed,” the Taoiseach added.

“Payments under these new schemes have already commenced.

Guided by the advice of the Public Health Emergency Team, led by the chief medical officer, the Taoiseach said that now is the time for further actions.

I said there would be a calm before the storm – and yet with every single action that we have taken we have reduced the impact of that storm in our country…to slow the virus down, to push it back and to contain it.

Transmission in the community, he said, now accounts for more than half of all cases…and there continues to be an increasing number of clusters – many of which are in nursing homes and residential care settings.

The newly-announced measures are in addition to all of the existing measures that are already in place.