By Michelle Crean

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has just announced further restrictions from midnight tonight for the next two weeks, and said that Gardai will be available to police it if needed.

He said that this is the “most intensive phase of the COVID-19 battle”.

Exceptions include:

* Travel from home to work (a list of jobs to be announced)
* Shopping for food, medicine and vital family reasons
* For brief physical exercise
* For farming activities

Mr Varadkar said that “numbers in ICU units has doubled since Monday” and “now is the time for further actions”.

He said we must shield or ‘cocoon’ older members of our community and that “these are radical actions”, and he’s appealing to “every man, woman and child to take these actions for the love of each other”.

“The whole world is suffering because of this pandemic and Ireland is no different. Show that you care for your family and friends, stay at home,” Mr Varadkar said.

Health Minister Simon Harris said that “our personal world must now shrink again. We have to constantly ask ourselves can we do more? We must stay home in all but limited circumstances. We have to take the further measures to give ourselves the very best chance. Put simply we need to stay at home.”