Oct 20, 2020 - World

Ireland moving back into lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

 pedestrian wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past a pub in Dublin on October 19,

A pub in Dublin Monday, when Ireland reported 1,031 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 50,993. "If we pull together, we'll be able to celebrate Christmas," Taoiseach Micheál Martin said. Photo: Paul Faith/AFP via Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland will return to its highest level of lockdown restrictions this week to combat surging coronavirus cases, Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced Monday evening.

Why it matters: The country is the first in Europe to announce a return to a nationwide lockdown. Martin described the measures that'll see non-essential retailers close, home visits banned and a three-mile travel limit imposed from midnight Wednesday as "probably Europe's strictest regime." Bars, cafes and restaurants can only serve takeout meals only under the measures, which will last for six weeks.

Go deeper: In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

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