Covid-19: Dublin set to face further restrictions amid ‘worrying’ rise in cases

Dublin’s population of 1.4 million people will be subject to additional restrictions. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

The Government will decide this morning if it will escalate the alert level of Dublin above the rest of the State under its new five-level coronavirus plan, as serious concerns continue about infection rates in the capital.

The Cabinet will give its final approval to the "Living with Covid-19" plan on Tuesday morning, including additional measures for Dublin.

At issue is whether to keep the city at level two along with the rest of the country, despite the number of cases increasing twenty-fold in the course of a month in the capital, or to raise it to level three.

However, if it is kept at level two, Dublin’s population of 1.4 million people will be subject to additional restrictions including a delay in the reopening of drink-only pubs from the scheduled September 21st date.

The new rules for Dublin will also state that members of only one household will be allowed to visit another home. Visits to residential care and nursing homes are likely to be stopped.

A senior Government source told The Irish Times that the situation in Dublin was a “serious worry” for the Cabinet.

“All the indications are very worrying,” they said.

Infectious diseases expert Prof Sam McConkey said it was up to all Dubliners to change their behaviour and come up with a different way of living to combat the rise in infections.

"Every individual, every business, every leader, every organisation needs to cooperate on a voluntary basis," he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

"We are all going to have to behave differently."

On Monday night Prof McConkey tweeted that if the current levels of infection growth were to continue the city was heading towards 5,000 cases each day by the end of October. “Sadly, 0.5 to 1 per cent of those may die of it: 25 to 50 people daily, based on our past experiences, and many others will get sick.”

Another 208 confirmed coronavirus cases were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Monday night, including 108 in Dublin. There were no new deaths.

The number of hospitalised patients has grown from 36 to 60 since the start of the month, while the number in intensive care has increased from six to 11.

Separately, the period for which people with Covid-19 are required to isolate is being cut from 14 days to 10. Under new guidelines, patients who test positive are being advised to self-isolate for “a minimum of 10 days” from the onset of symptoms.