IRELAND'S hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, could remain closed until May as the Government ponders keeping Level 5 restrictions in place until late February, it has emerged.
Non-essential could also remain closed until the end of February according to reports.
A Cabinet meeting will take place next week to discuss the details and the latest advice from Nphet.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said on Virgin Media's Ireland AM this morning that the country could be facing another month of the strictest regulations: "It will be well into next month before the majority of Covid restrictions are relaxed", he said.
Meanwhile, The number of patients acquiring Covid-19 in Irish hospitals is of "real concern", the Tánaiste has said.
He told the Dail: "It seems that as many of as a third of patients in hospital got Covid in hospital. They didn't come in Covid positive, they picked up Covid while in the hospital.
"Some of them may not be sick as result, they may be sick for a different reason. But it still is a matter of real concern that so many people are acquiring Covid in our hospitals."
Speaking during Leaders' Questions, Mr Varadkar said that while mass-testing sometimes takes place where there is an outbreak of coronavirus in hospital wards, this can often distract from patient care.
The Tánaiste also said Ireland isto consider easing Level 5 restrictions.