Leo Varadkar has announced the closure of all Irish schools, colleges, cultural institutions and childcare centres in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus in this country.
Varadkar addressed the media in Washington DC on Thursday morning, when he revealed the most dramatic update on Ireland's attempts to contain the virus in what he described as "uncharted territory."
The Taoiseach announced that the effective lockdown will include the closure of all Irish schools, colleges, cultural institutions and childcare centres from 6pm on Thursday.
Where possible, teaching should take place online or remotely.
Employees have been asked to work from home if possible while mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 should be cancelled.
Emergency measures will stay in place until March 29.
"We know that older people and those with a chronic illness are at real risk," he said. "We have a duty as a society to protect ourselves and above all, to protect others."
The first death of a patient with COVID-19 in Ireland was confirmed on Wednesday, when an elderly woman passed away in a hospital in the east of the country.
More to follow