Coronavirus: Further restrictions coming for Republic of Ireland

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Image source, RTÉ
Image caption,
Mr Harris told RTÉ further action was inevitable

The Irish cabinet is set to introduce further coronavirus restrictions on Monday.

On Saturday, the National Public Health Emergency Team recommended the country moves to level five Covid-19 restrictions.

Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris said any move would be "decisive and nationwide".

Speaking on RTE's The Week In Politics, he implied the Republic of Ireland would move to at least level four of Covid-19 restrictions.

"It is clear now the virus is at such a level that a county-by-county approach is not sufficient," he said.

"Level three has not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to."

Mr Harris said no system would achieve a goal of zero Covid-19 cases and instead suggested the country should aim to look at other countries like Israel, which managed to get the R rate to 0.8.

Image source, Liam McBurney/PA
Image caption,
Gardaí (Irish police) have been helping to enforce stricter rules

In the Republic of Ireland, under Level 4 all non-essential businesses will be closed, while visits to private homes and social gatherings will not be allowed.

Level 5 is similar to the level of restrictions experienced in March and April, except schools would stay open.

People would be asked to stay within a 5km limit of their home and no visits between households or gatherings outside the home would be allowed.

The Irish cabinet is set to meet on Monday to discuss the measures in place.

On Sunday, the Irish Department of Health reported a further three Covid-19 related deaths and 1,283 new cases of the disease.

There are currently 277 virus patients in Irish hospitals, with 33 in ICU.

Image source, Brian Lawless/PA
Image caption,
Level five contains the tightest public health restrictions in the Government's Living with Covid-19 plan

NPHET said the level five restrictions should remain in place for six weeks.

Following the briefings, the leader of the Green Party Eamon Ryan described the situation as "complex", with "so many different variables".

"A lot of analysis has to be done," he said.

Mr Ryan said the government shares the concerns of NPHET when looking at the numbers, and increased incidence of the virus.

However, he said that the government has to "balance up a whole range of areas" including the impacts of the virus and other impacts on society.

Level five contains the tightest public health restrictions in the Irish government's Living with Covid-19 plan.

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