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Ireland significantly tightens nationwide COVID-19 restrictions

DUBLIN, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Ireland significantly tightened its nationwide coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday to rein in an increase in cases, urging everyone to restrict visitors to their homes, avoid public transport and for older people to limit their contacts.

A spike in cases over the last three weeks after Ireland had one of Europe’s lowest infection rates for several weeks, pushed the country’s 14-day cumulative cases per 100,000 population to 26 and led to the first local lockdown last week.

“We’re absolutely not at a stage where we can return to normality. We are at another critical moment,” Prime Minister Micheal Martin told a news conference, saying the new measures would stay in place until Sept. 13. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Graham Fahy Editing by Chris Reese)

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