DUBLIN, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ireland will drop most COVID-19 restrictions starting from Saturday, its government announced Friday.
Starting from 6 a.m. on Saturday, there will be no social distancing requirements in public venues, no restrictions on the number of people attending indoor and outdoor events, no limits on household gatherings, and no domestic requirements of a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate for access to various premises, said the government in a statement.
Businesses in the hospitality sector such as restaurants and bars will no longer need to be closed before 8 p.m. and nightclubs can reopen, it said, adding that people can also return to work in office on a phased basis starting from Monday.
But a limited number of public health measures will remain in place until the end of February, which include mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport and in public indoor settings and adherence to current protective measures in schools and early learning and care facilities, the statement added.
Public health measures regarding international travel including the requirement of a valid EU Digital COVID will also remain unchanged, the statement said.
The decision of the Irish government came at a time when Ireland saw a notable decline in its COVID-19 infections in the past week or so.
On Monday, Ireland's daily confirmed COVID-19 cases dropped below 10,000 for the first time in more than three weeks and has since remained below that level for the last five consecutive days.
High uptake of COVID-19 vaccines and booster vaccines in Ireland is another factor that has shored up confidence in easing the restrictions.
Official data showed that as of Thursday, more than 7.61 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Ireland and more than 3.85 million people in the country had been fully vaccinated, accounting for about 77 percent of the country's total population.
Besides, over 2.62 million people in Ireland had received a booster as of Thursday.