DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland on Tuesday banned large-scale public events until the end of August at the earliest in a bid to rein in the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision to ban gatherings of more 5,000 people was taken at a meeting of ministers to provide clarity for the organisers of events that need licensing and the involvement of police and local authorities.

“Local authorities have been advised by Government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licences in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August,” the government said in a statement.

The government would decide what to do about smaller gatherings closer to May 5 when restrictions put in place on March 24 are due to expire.

Other restrictions require people to stay home other than for short periods to exercise, and all schools, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed.

Ireland, which has a population of 4.9 million, has reported 16,041 cases of coronavirus infections and 731 related deaths.

The country’s chief medical officer last week said the country had contained and effectively suppressed the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Alison Williams and Nick Macfie)

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