Dublin: A nationwide lockdown has left Ireland’s public spaces hushed and deserted amid overwhelming public support for extreme measures to control the coronavirus pandemic.

The vast majority of the population appeared to be following appeals to stay at home except to buy food, care for vulnerable people, do work deemed essential or briefly exercise within 2 km (1.2 miles) of home.

In the latest, Ireland government has issued guidelines on safe sex during the coronavirus pandemic.

Only be sexually active with someone you live with and who does not have the virus or symptoms of the virus, and avoid kissing anyone outside your household or who has symptoms, said the health service executive guidelines.

“Taking a break from physical and face-to-face interactions is worth considering, especially if you meet your sex partners online or make a living by having sex. Consider using video dates, sexting or chat rooms. Make sure to disinfect keyboards and touch screens that you share with the other.”

Masturbation will not spread coronavirus, it added. “Especially if you wash your hands (and any sex toys) with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.”

The coronavirus pandemic has killed 85 people in Ireland and as many as 3,447 cases have emerged. The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has asked people to stay at home, if at all possible. The government said it was seeing early signs of success in slowing the virus through social distancing, but asked people to "go further".