Lockdown set to continue until March 5th, sources say

ireland
Lockdown Set To Continue Until March 5Th, Sources Say
The current Level 5 restrictions had been due to expire this week. Photo: PA
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Ministers are set to recommend an extension to the Level 5 lockdown until March 5th.

The Cabinet Covid-19 sub-committee met on Monday evening to agree new proposals for restrictions and travel curbs ahead of tomorrow's full meeting of Cabinet.

According to The Irish Examiner, no decision has been made on the Leaving Cert or a return to education, due next week.

Construction sites, apart from those currently allowed to operate, will remain closed until March 5th.

The Cabinet sub-committee agreed that all those coming from South Africa and Brazil where Covid variants have been found will face mandatory quarantine when entering the country.

One source told The Examiner this would effectively amount to a travel ban for particular countries.

However, this may take some time to implement as arrangements will have to be made with hotels.

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“It won't be immediate because it has to be set up and that will be led by the Department of Health,” said a senior Government source.

Passengers entering from other regions will be expected to self-isolate and this will now be “legally binding and penal” and will no longer be advisory as has been the case.

Lockdown extended

The current Level 5 restrictions are due to expire this week.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has already indicated that most classes may not return to school for many weeks as pupils will only be allowed back on a phased basis, starting with those with special educational needs and those due to take the Leaving Certificate.

On Monday evening, the deputy chief medical officer Ronan Glynn said the full reopening of schools is unlikely to happen in the coming weeks as transmission of Covid-19 in the community remains too high

The daily case tallies have dropped significantly in recent weeks due to lockdown measures, with 1,372 cases reported on Monday, compared to a high of 8,248 cases on January 8th.

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But while case numbers are dropping and the numbers of people in hospitals and intensive care units is beginning to plateau, it is still too early to consider reopening schools, Dr Glynn said.

Meanwhile, community vaccinations will begin as planned next month despite disruptions to the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Minister for Health said.

Stephen Donnelly said on Monday that Ireland will receive a delivery within the expected range of doses for February, “although at the lower end of that range”.

Non-healthcare workers over the age of 70 will begin in the middle of February as planned, he said.

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