New restrictions to take effect on December 26th

Ireland is moving to Level Five restrictions from Christmas Eve with some exemptions.

Restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, beauticians, cinemas and galleries will all have to close from 3pm on Christmas Eve.

Non-essential retail is allowed to stay open but January sales events must be deferred.

Inter-county travel restrictions will come back into place after midnight on St Stephen's Day.

There will be an exception for people returning home after that date.

Household visits will be reduced to two other households until the 27th of December - then reduced to one until the 31st.

However, household visits will be banned from January 1st.

Additional supports for businesses that will have to close will be provided.

Weddings will be allowed to go ahead with 25 people up to and including January 1st and will then reduce to 6.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says nearly 1,000 new cases of Covid-19 will be confirmed tonight.

He says that number could double in a week's time........