The most severe tier of lockdown in the Plan for Living with Covid-19 came into force in Kilkenny at midnight on Wednesday and will last for six weeks, in what is being described as an attempt to save Christmas.
A bid to stop the spiralling number of Covid-19 cases has prompted the government to introduce a second full lockdown on the country.
Covid-19 cases in Kilkenny have sharply increased in recent weeks - with more than 20 cases on each of two days, earlier this month.
Local businesses will be severely affected by this new phase of lockdown. Rules for social distancing have been stepped up for public and private gatherings - see a full explanation of what Level 5 means on Page 24.
In Kilkenny there have now been 628 people diagnosed with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, in March.
While rates fell during the summer months, the numbers began to increase in mid-August. The number of cases began to rise even more rapidly from the beginning of October, figures from the HSE show. On October 15 there were 23 people diagnosed, and on October 17 there were 24 cases.
However, even with the increasing rate of the virus in the county, Kilkenny remains at the lower end of the scale when compared to other counties, using the 14 day incidence rate.
As of midnight Sunday, October 18, the latest day for which detailed figures were available as we went to print, Kilkenny had a 14 day rate of 153.2 cases per 100,000 of population. The national average was 261.7. Just three counties had a lower rate than Kilkenny.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre and HSE have released a breakdown of cases for each local electoral area, the most recent from September 29 to October 12.
The highest rate of infection rate is in the city, with a 14 day incidence of 152 cases per 100,000. The Callan Thomastown electoral area had 114.4 cases per 100,000 in the same period; Castlecomer area 88, and the south of the county had the lowest incidence of with a 14 day comparison rate of 28.1
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