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Irish county to remain under lockdown, business body told

DUBLIN, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Ireland’s public health officials have recommended that strict COVID-19 restrictions should remain in place in one of the three counties where they were reimposed two weeks ago, the health minister was quoted as telling local businesses.

Ireland closed or limited business on Aug. 7 in three of its 26 counties, Kildare, Laois and Offaly.

County Kildare Chamber Chief Executive Allan Shine told Reuters that he had spoken to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, who had made clear that an extension of controls in Kildare for two more weeks had been recommended.

The measures, that mean residents can only leave their county in limited circumstances, will be lifted in Laois and Offaly, he added.

“I had a conversation with Stephen Donnelly this morning. The cases in Kildare are obviously very high and we’re expecting the announcement this evening that there would be a further lockdown until midnight Sept. 6,” Shine said.

A number of media outlets reported that the restrictions would only be lifted in the other two counties, but a spokeswoman for the health ministry did not confirm that.

Shine called on the government to increase funding for Kildare.

“Cashflow is the huge issue now. The businesses need hard cash now to remain open and hopefully survive into the winter months,” he said. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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