The Taoiseach has confirmed that Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until 5 April when, depending on the transmission of the virus and the vaccination progress, further options will be considered.
In addressing the public on the new ‘Living with Covid’ plan, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed that Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until 5 April.
Speaking at Government Buildings, the Taoiseach said that up to 90 per cent of new infections in the country are due to the UK variant.
“The truth is that it has changed the dynamic significantly and we need to be very careful as we take the next steps forward,” he said.
The Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until 5 April, when they will be again reviewed.
If the transmission of the virus reaches acceptable levels, the vaccination programme progresses as planned and public health advice allows, further options will be considered from 5 April.
These include the easing of restrictions on outdoor activities and meetings beyond one other household, consideration of extending the current 5km limit and a staggered start of easing of other areas of restriction with a focus on outdoor activities including sport and some areas of construction.
Any further easing of restrictions after 5 April will need a further three to four week period to allow for assessment of the impact of changes.
The requirement to work from home will continue throughout this period, unless work is an essential health, social care or other essential service or activity that cannot be done from home.
However, there will be some changes in the current Level 5 restrictions, with the phased reopening of in-school education, the resumption of childcare and non-COVID care and social services.
Speaking this evening, the Taoiseach said that by the end of March, Ireland will have administered 1.25 million doses of the vaccine.
"I know how hard this is. I know the toll that it is having on so many people’s mental health and well being," he said.
"We have already shown what a remarkably resilient people we are. We have drawn on a deep innate sense of community and solidarity to get us this far."
"That’s why, I know, that we will get through this," he added.