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Image source, PA MediaImage caption, Bars and clubs had been allowed to return to normal opening hours from 22 October

People in the Republic of Ireland who can work from home will be advised to do so again from Friday due to the country's rise in Covid-19 infection.

The Irish government agreed that move as well as an earlier closing time of midnight for bars, restaurants and nightclubs at a meeting on Tuesday.

Workers began to return to offices in September when restrictions were eased.

But amid a rise in coronavirus cases government health advisers suggested a return to home working when feasible.

Ministers made the decision as senior government figures fear further restrictions may be needed.

Image source, PA MediaImage caption, Taoiseach Micheál Martin says the country's Covid-19 infection rate "will get worse before it gets better"

The earlier closing time for all restaurants, pubs and nightclubs will come into effect from Thursday at midnight.

That reverses the return to normal opening hours on 22 October, which had brought an end to an 23:30 curfew that had been operating since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in July to allow hospitality premises to serve customers indoors.

Pubs and nightclubs are ordinarily able to serve alcohol until 00:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, while those with a late licence can serve alcohol up until 02:30.

The head of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said the decision would be "will be extraordinarily difficult for those working in late bars, nightclubs and the rest of the late night sector and will place considerable pressures on livelihoods in the run up to Christmas".

'Objective it to stop people getting very sick'

Covid-19 vaccine passes will be required for entry to cinemas and theatres but not for gyms and hairdressers.

Another 4,570 cases of coronavirus were reported in Ireland on Monday, up from 3,805 on Sunday.

The total number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland since the start of the pandemic is 5,566.

Image source, ReutersImage caption, The Republic of Ireland has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world

Before the meeting on Tuesday morning Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin said people had to be aware that the "situation is getting worse and will get worse before it gets better".

"The overall objective is to prevent people getting very sick, going into hospitals," he said.

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"We simply have to limit the increase we are experiencing at the moment."

With about 90% of over-12s fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the Republic of Ireland has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

There are plans to give boosters to all over 60s.