Thu, 24 Sep 2020

The Irish cabinet on Tuesday entered coronavirus self-isolation after the health minister fell ill, forcing the suspension of the lower house of parliament.

"I'm told that arising out of events today the cabinet must now self-isolate," chairperson Sean O Fearghail told lawmakers in the lower Dail house of parliament.

He said "the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise" and adjourned the house until next Tuesday or until prime minister Micheal Martin directs him to reconvene.

RTE reported that health minister Stephen Donnelly fell ill on Tuesday afternoon and has contacted his doctor for a Covid-19 test.

Citing government sources, the state broadcaster said the cabinet decision to self-isolate was made with "an abundance of caution" pending the results.

Donnelly had appeared earlier Tuesday alongside Martin and deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar at a government press conference announcing fresh coronavirus restrictions for the city of Dublin.

The Irish government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There have been 1 787 deaths from the coronavirus in Ireland, according to the latest health ministry figures.

Daily deaths peaked in mid-April, but Ireland is currently battling a surge in new cases, prompting the introduction of fresh restrictions for the capital.

Dublin residents were asked on Tuesday to limit gatherings to no more than six from two different households and to avoid travel outside the region.

Whilst pubs in the rest of the nation are to reopen after a six-month closure next Monday, those in Dublin are to remain closed.

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