Nphet and Government to discuss today if hospitality, hairdressers and retail can reopen

Nphet and Government to discuss today if hospitality, hairdressers and retail can reopen

PUBLIC health officials and Government ministers are due to meet later to review the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures in Ireland.

It comes amid increasing concern over rising Covid-19 cases in the country.

The most severe level of restriction, Level 5, is currently in place until April 5.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is expected to make its recommendations to Government following a meeting on Monday morning.

Those will be considered by the Cabinet sub-committee on the pandemic response on Monday evening before a full meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to make an announcement following the Cabinet meeting.

Some limited relaxations, potentially in relation to outdoor activities and the 5km limit on travel, are expected.

But it is believed it will be May or June before a greater easing of restrictions will be made.

On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the Government would only have a "very narrow" scope to ease restrictions amid fears of triggering a fourth wave of infections between now and when the majority of adults in the country will be vaccinated.

Mr Coveney said the Government also wanted to make sure the full return of schools was completed as intended after Easter.

He said he would also like to see an increase in construction activity, but only if public health advice allowed.

Sunday saw 13 further Covid-19-related deaths in Ireland and another 604 cases of the virus notified to the Department of Health.

The five-day moving average of cases now stands at 620, while the 14-day incidence of the virus per 100,000 population is now at 164.5.

As of Sunday morning, 322 coronavirus patients were in hospital, of whom 66 were in ICU.

As of Thursday last week, a total of 760,168 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland. Some 548,945 people have received their first dose, while 211,223 people have received two doses.

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