|Irish Prime Minister, Micheal Martin|
Ireland will introduce stricter coronavirus measures on Christmas Eve, with Prime Minister Micheal Martin claiming the new variant is probably already circulating there.
Under the fresh restrictions, restaurants and gastro pubs will be forced to close at 3pm on 24 December.
Non-essential shops, as long as they do not host January sales, are allowed to stay open, along with gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools for individual exercise.
The current measures that allow three households to mix in a private dwelling or garden will end on 27 December, with visits from one other household permitted until 31 December.
But people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors and in private gardens from 1 January.
The new restrictions will last until 12 January, Mr Martin told a news briefing on Tuesday.