Details of the Government’s new plan to deal with Covid-19 have begun to emerge as billions are set to be spent on healthcare costs over the coming months.
As the Government announced new measures in August designed to curb the spread of the virus, it also revealed work was underway on a plan laying out how the country would “live” with it in the mid-term.
Under the new plan, health services for the winter are expected to cost in the region of €600 million, according to the Irish Times.
The paper reports that the State is facing additional health costs of more than €3 billion to deal with the impact of Covid-19 into next year, while the cost of a revised testing and tracing system has been forecast at between €900 million and €1 billion.
The bill for personal protective equipment in the last quarter of 2020 and over the course of 2021 is likely to reach €1.5 billion.
The publication of the framework for the next six months is now expected next week, and will replace the roadmap for reopening which came to an end in August.
Alert levels The new plan is expected to include five levels of alert with corresponding restrictions to reflect the level at which the virus is circulating.
Each individual county is set to be assigned a level depending on the level of Covid-19 present in the region.
Level Five is expected to represent an emergency situation similar to that faced in March.
On the plan’s publication next week, the entire State is expected to be placed on Level Two status, the second most benign of the five levels, according to the Irish Times.
This is despite confirmed cases of Covid-19 continuing to rise in the capital, with more than half of yesterday’s 211 new cases recorded in the region.
Dr Colm Henry, a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), has said there is no appetite to recommend a localised lockdown in Dublin and that other methods to reverse the upwards trend of the virus will be looked at first, such as reducing interactions between households.