Leo Varadkar has announced that all schools in Ireland will be closed for two weeks as a measure to try and control the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The move is a significant step as the Irish government attempts to try and limit the spread of the disease throughout the country.
Mr Varadkar also added that outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people, and indoor events of more than 100 people should be cancelled.
Countries all around the world are taking action to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Sporting events have been cancelled and restrictions have been placed on travel between several of the more severely affected regions.
Ireland saw its first fatality from the coronavirus when an elderly woman died in a Dublin hospital this week.
As well as closing schools, colleges and childcare centres and cancelling public events, most notably the St Patrick’s Day parades throughout the country, the government has also advised the public to work from home if it is possible to do so.
Public buildings such as museums, galleries and tourist sites will also be closed.
The Taoiseach said: “I know that some of this is coming as a real shock and it is going to involve big changes in the way we live our lives and I know I’m asking people to make enormous sacrifices but we’re doing it for each other.
“Our economy will suffer but it will bounce back. Lost time in school or college will be recovered and in time our lives will go back to normal.
“Ireland is a great nation, we’re great people, we’ve experienced hardship and struggle before, we’ve overcome many trials in the past.”
The Irish government confirmed that public transport will still be running and they are not advising shops to be shut at this point.
It added that people should limit their social interactions where possible, particularly elderly people.