Nphet advised Government to bring in full six-week Level 5 lockdown

ireland
Nphet Advised Government To Bring In Full Six-Week Level 5 Lockdown
Nphet recommended a full six-week Level 5 lockdown in a letter to Government.
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James Cox

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has advised the Government to bring in a full Level 5 lockdown for a period of six weeks from St Stephen's Day.

Government sources told The Irish Times that the recommendation was sent by Nphet following its meeting on Wednesday.

The sources said a decision on the matter would not be made immediately.

Home visits

This would rule out any private home visits by Saturday, home visits are currently due to be banned from January 1st, 2021.

The current restrictions, which amount to an altered version of Level 5, will see non-essential retail remain open.

Meanwhile, 13 further Covid-19 related deaths and 938 additional cases have been confirmed today.

Nphet has also confirmed that the new strain of Covid-19, first detected in the UK, is in Ireland.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, medical virologist and director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said: “Preliminary data would suggest, based on a selection of samples analysed from the weekend, that the novel variant from the UK is present in Ireland. However, given the timeline of the samples analysed, it would seem that the novel variant is not solely responsible for the recent increase in case numbers seen in Ireland.”

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A rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in London and the south east of England are linked to the new variant of Covid-19.

Public health doctors have said it is unlikely that the new strain will have an impact on the efficacy of Covid vaccines, while tests will be conducted to confirm this.

Surge in cases

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said Nphet don't believe the new variant is driving the recent surge in cases.

“We don't think that's been an important part in transmission in this country.

“We've seen a significant amount of social engagement that can explain this extent of really worrying numbers and certainly put us in a situation whereby the types of restrictions we thought a few short days ago, let alone weeks ago, that might be possible for us to undertake over the Christmas period no longer can be contemplated safely.

“So the advice we're giving people is to revise their plans.”

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