Level 5 exit 'not able to please everyone' says Minister

ireland
Cabinet are due to meet today following a meeting of the three coalition leaders yesterday evening.
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James Cox

The Government will not be able to please everyone with how they decide to exit Level 5 according to the Minister for Public Expenditure.

Minister Michael McGrath made the comments on his way to today's Cabinet meeting where the easing of Level 5 measures next week is on the agenda.

The Government is thought to be looking at a staged reopening, which would be Level 3 with some tweaks.

Minister McGrath said there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how the country should reopen for December.

"We are very conscious of businesses that haven't been able to open for some time, December is a critical month, but at the same time we have made real progress on the virus front, and we don't want to sacrifice that unnecessarily.

"We have to weigh up a range of competing factors and it's a difficult set of decisions. We are not going to be able to please everybody, but we will make the best fist of it that we possibly can."

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Following the Cabinet meeting, the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) will meet tomorrow, after bringing forward its usual Thursday meeting, and is expected to be cautious in its approach to reopening the country.

The Government's decision on what measures will be introduced is expected on Thursday or Friday.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed Ireland will move to Level 3 on December 1st. However, uncertainty remains over the status of pubs and restaurants.

Wet pubs

It is understood wet pubs are unlikely to reopen, while a two-stage exit from Level 5 restrictions has also been mooted.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan says the situation is still volatile as the five-day average still stands at over 300 cases per day.

“We're still dealing with a five-day average of over 300 cases per day and that's still a significant number of infections. A small change in the reproductive number, were that to increase slightly above one from a caseload of over 300 per day on a five-day average would create a lot of problems for us in a relatively short period of time.”

Nphet had targeted 50-100 cases by December 1st but this now looks unlikely.

While a spike in case numbers last week looks to be stabilising, there were 252 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country yesterday.

After receiving Nphet's recommendations, Cabinet will meet again on Friday to finalise the Government's plan for exiting Level 5 restrictions.

Cabinet

This morning's meeting will be followed up with a Cabinet subcommittee meeting this evening.

The meeting is expected to include leading Nphet members including chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan and HSE chief executive Paul Reid.

The exit from Level 5 will be debated in the Dáil this afternoon.

 

 

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