Nphet meet to discuss moving out of Level 5 restrictions

Nphet meet to discuss moving out of Level 5 restrictions

The Cabinet met yesterday to discuss potential options for reopening the country ahead of Christmas, with Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath saying the plans would not be able to please everyone if the country wishes to keep the transmission of the virus low.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet this morning to consider whether the country should exit Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions next week.

The meeting is due to take place a day earlier than usual, with Cabinet set to consider its recommendations ahead of an announcement tomorrow or Friday.

It is expected Ireland will move to a modified Level 3 next week with retail reopening. However, hotels and restaurants will be later in the month, and wet pubs will stay closed.

The Cabinet met yesterday to discuss potential options for reopening the country ahead of Christmas, with Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath saying the plans would not be able to please everyone if the country wishes to keep the transmission of the virus low.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar later said a third lockdown may be needed in January because of celebrations over Christmas but Professor of Public Health at UCC, Patricia Kearney, says the Government must work out how that can be avoided.

"It's a blunt instrument and it's appropriate to use as a way to give us time to try to put a strategy in place. We have used it twice now and I really don't think that we should be facing it again in the New Year.

"I would call on our political leaders to think differently and see how we can avoid going into a lockdown and what other strategies do we need to get to a point of really suppressing this virus."

There were 226 new cases of Covid-19 detected in the Republic yesterday - while six more deaths associated with the disease were confirmed.

The estimated national 14-day incidence rate now stands at 107 cases per 100,000 - the lowest it has been since October 3rd.

Last night, in hospitals there were 269 people with the disease, 37 of whom were being treated in ICUs.

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