Level 5 lockdown set to continue until March

Level 5 lockdown set to continue until March

While case numbers are dropping and the numbers of people in hospitals and intensive care units is beginning to plateau, it still to early to consider reopening schools, Dr Ronan Glynn said.Pic: Julien Behal

Level Five lockdown measures will continue until at least early March, under proposals to go before Cabinet on Tuesday.

A Cabinet sub-committee met on Monday night to consider a range of new measures to combat the pandemic, including extending lockdown until March 5th - in line with Northern Ireland.

Mandatory quarantine of 14-days will be enforced for international travellers who arrive in the country without a negative PCR test taken in the previous 72-hours.

Passengers from Brazil and South Africa, where new variants of Covid-19 have emerged, will also be subject to quarantine, according to Government sources.

A full meeting of the Cabinet is to take place on Tuesday where the proposals are expected to be signed off on.

It comes as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer warned the full reopening of schools is unlikely to happen in the coming weeks as transmission of Covid-19 in the community remains too high.

The daily case tallies have dropped significantly in recent weeks due to lockdown measures, with 1,372 cases reported on Monday, compared to a high of 8,248 cases on January 8.

But while case numbers are dropping and the numbers of people in hospitals and intensive care units is beginning to plateau, it still to early to consider reopening schools, Dr Ronan Glynn said.

He told a briefing on Monday evening: "It's a very significant improvement over the past couple of weeks and where we were.

"But we're still at a level of disease that is way, way higher than where we want to be, or need to be in general terms.

"All I can say is that, from our perspective, right now is not the time to see mobility of over a million people that would be associated with the full reopening of education.

"In the first instance we need to be assured that the improvements that we've seen in the disease numbers, in the trajectory, is continuing. And that we don't now plateau at where we are. We need to see a continued improvement."

He added: "I can't see it happening in the next fortnight for sure."

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