All schools, colleges and nurseries will be closed across Ireland with outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people banned amid a growing coronavirus outbreak.
Prime Minister Leo Varadkar made the dramatic announcement in a speech given outside Blair House in Washington DC, where he is due to meet with Donald Trump later today.
He added that under the emergency measures, which will take effect from 6pm today until March 29, teaching will be completed online and museums, galleries and other tourist destinations will also close as a result of the action.
The UK has yet to announce similar measures despite eight deaths due to the virus, with Boris Johnson expected to defy demands for an immediate shutdown of schools and borders later today.
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