UPDATE 1-Irish government to restrict movements after minister falls ill

16 Sep 2020 / 03:01 H.

    (Updates with PM comments; parliament to reconvene)

    DUBLIN, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Irish government ministers are to restrict their movements after the health minister on Tuesday fell ill with symptoms of COVID-19, Prime Minister Micheal Martin said.

    The ministers will continue to work remotely until Stephen Donnelly receives the results of a COVID-19 test, Martin told RTE television in an interview.

    The lower house of parliament was suspended by the speaker when the news emerged, but Martin said parliament was set to reopen later on Tuesday with junior minister substituting for their absent senior colleagues.

    The news came hours after Martin announced a new five-level system of COVID restrictions under which the reopening of bars in Dublin and the relaxing of international travel restrictions were delayed due to a rise in cases.

    Ireland reported 357 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily figure since mid-May and up from an average of 203 cases per day over the previous seven days.

    A total of 1,787 people have died of COVID-19 in Ireland since the start of the pandemic.

    The country had some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe. Its EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, was forced to quit over allegations he breached COVID-19 guidelines, including his attendance at a dinner organised by parliament's golf society. The agriculture minister also resigned after attending the event. (Reporting by Conor Humphries Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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