Level five restrictions are to continue until March 5, it has been confirmed with the aim of ‘crushing the numbers’.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed the extension of the lockdown in a briefing held this afternoon.
“The message is very simple, stay at home. Hold firm and stick to the basics.”
Visitors to Ireland without a negative Covid-19 test will face a 14-day quarantine period. New legislation will need to be drafted in order to implement this regulation to EU and Irish citizens. Arrivals without a negative PCR test will also face a €2,500 fine.
Mr Martin said there would be increased policing of ports and airports.
“There is no easy way out of this pandemic.”
Schools will be brought back on a phased basis starting with special needs schools and students.
The Taoiseach commended the work of frontline workers and once again urged people to stay at home.
Mr Martin acknowledged the toll on mental health, which he said was “unknown but significant” but said that we all must “stay focused on the measures which reduce the virus.”
The Taoiseach acknowledged that the road ahead is “long and hard” but said “We have done it before and we can do it again.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said “We are extending the restrictions for four reasons, to reduce daily case numbers, allow hospitals and ICUs time to recover from the surge, enable phased opening of schools and get the vaccine out to more people.”