TDs call for 5km travel limit to be lifted despite concern of rising case numbers

ireland
Tds Call For 5Km Travel Limit To Be Lifted Despite Concern Of Rising Case Numbers
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar is said to have raised concerns about the current level of the virus compared to when restrictions were eased last December.
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Additional reporting by PA.

A number of Fianna Fáil TDs have called for the 5km travel rule to be lifted at a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday evening.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is said to have told the meeting the target of having 80 per cent of the adult population inoculated with at least one dose can still be met, adding the country will be in a "different position" by the end of April, according to The Irish Times.

He urged members to "stick with it" for another few weeks, amid calls for the return of church services and outdoor activities.

Earlier, Mr Martin said no decision has been made in relation to what restrictions will be eased when the current Level 5 lockdown is due to expire on April 5th, adding the situation in relation to the virus was “very fragile”.

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The Taoiseach said he "knows people are fed up", but said vulnerable people must be protected.

Rising case numbers

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told Fine Gael's parliamentary party meeting that the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases is a cause for concern.

On Wednesday, 683 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) and 18 additional deaths.

Mr Varadkar said schools staying open and people’s mental health with some extra freedoms were the current focus, according to sources present at the meeting.

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He said the introduction of mandatory hotel quarantine, beginning this week, will mean Ireland has the strictest travel rules in the European Union.

Mr Varadkar also said he was concerned about any potential international vaccine export ban, warning such a move could leave everyone worse off. He added that he will be discussing this at Thursday’s online EPP summit with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Ahead of next week's announcement on restricitons, Mr Varadkar said the situation in the State is now far worse than it was at the end of November when restrcitions eased ahead of Christmas.

Last year, Level 5 measures were lifted on December 1st, following a six-week lockdown, when the national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 was 87. That rate now stands at 159.3, according to Nphet.

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