Taoiseach does not anticipate further restrictions before Christmas

ireland
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Digital Desk Staff

The Taoiseach has said he does not anticipate new Covid-19 restrictions before Christmas and has described the 400 daily cases figure that Nphet has set as a threshold for action is “very arbitrary.”

Nphet said in a letter to the Government last week that it would be possible to suppress the spread of the virus with a three-week intervention only if it begins as cases approach 400 a day.

The five-day average of new cases stood at 277 on Monday.

According to the Irish Times, Micheál Martin said the Government was not just watching the figures on new cases but also the level of hospitalisations, ICU admissions and deaths in deciding on imposing any restrictions.

He said the State was the best performing in Europe on the seven-day average of new cases.

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“We want to stay in the that position, so we won’t be slow to react, but we don’t anticipate having to do it before Christmas,” the Taoiseach told the Irish Times in an interview on Monday.

On Tuesday the country moved from Level 5 to Level 3 restrictions with the reopening non-essential retail and other public amenities but household visits remain restricted until December 18th.

Household mixing

Mr Martin said the expectation was that cases would continue to fall this week due to the lag from remaining restrictions.

He said an increase in cases after the Government permitted household visits for Christmas after December 18th would depend on people’s behaviour.

It’s now for all of us individually and collectively in our behaviour to manage this virus and to get the virus down and that’s particularly true from the 18th onwards

The Government was “more comfortable” about reopening museums, libraries or galleries without this leading to a spread of the virus and this would improve quality of life over Christmas, he said.

“There are limits to which a government can lock people up for a prolonged period of time, to be crude about it, and we have to get the balance right. This is about balance,” he said.

Nphet has argued that if socialising and household mixing took place “a third wave of disease will ensue much more quickly and with greater mortality than the second.”

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