Ireland Prime Minister Micheal Martin has announced stricter coronavirus restrictions in the country with possibile extensions  in view of rising COVID-19 cases in the country, AFP reported on Wednesday.  

With the number of infections growing "exponentially", the Prime Minister suggested returning to the full-scale level 5 restrictions for at least a month. 

Since the country witnessed a 61% spike in the COVID-19 cases in last one week, a few additions have been made to the previously instated restrictions.

Under the new ruling, non-essential retail shops and gyms shall remain closed.

Martin said that Ireland will take all necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

He urged people to stay home except for educational purposes, travelling for work or any other essential work. 

All social gatherings except small weddings and funerals will not be allowed, including the New Year's Eve celebrations. 

In addition to an extended travel ban for people from the UK till January 6, the schools in Ireland will be delaying the new term by three days and will now start on January 11.  

The prime minister said that previous lockdown measures introduced before Christmas were no longer adequate, due to a rising incidence of the virus across all age groups and a "sharp rise in the number of hospital admissions".

Also Read: COVID restrictions tighten in England amid spike in new coronavirus variant

On December 22, Ireland had announced coronavirus restrictions  to last until January 12, including the closure of hairdressers, restaurants and pubs serving food from Christmas Eve, except for takeaways.

The previous preventive restrictions included the closure of hairdressers, restaurants and other types of food outlets, except for takeaways.