DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland's government rejected a surprise recommendation by its health chiefs to go into lockdown and instead tightened COVID-19 restrictions across the country for three weeks, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday.
"If we do not alter these trends (of COVID-19 cases), there will be a serious impact. There is no doubt whatsoever about this, so we must respond and the challenge is to be as effective and proportionate as possible," Martin said in a televised address, announcing the move to Level 3 restrictions.
"It is important to understand we are in a very different situation to last March," he said. "Businesses are beginning to recover and vital public health services are still backlogged. Severe restrictions now would have a very damaging impact which those services and those businesses may not be able to recover from."
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Leslie Adler)