Announcement expected by lunchtime on whether easing of restrictions will go ahead

coronavirus virus covidCabinet Ministers are meeting this morning to decide whether an easing of Covid restrictions will go ahead on Friday.

NPHET briefed the Government yesterday as the number of new Covid cases and hospitalisations continues to increase.

It’s understood NPHET is recommending a cautious approach to Government, suggesting Ministers consider delaying re-opening as explanations are sought for the recent rapid rise in cases, hospitalisations and ICU admissions.

One Minister last night admitted they hadn’t figured that out yet – suggesting proximity to the UK and waning vaccine immunity may be playing a role.

It’s widely accepted the use of vaccine certs will be extended beyond Friday – as will mask wearing and social distancing in indoor settings as well as events like matches and gigs.

The Government is also again examining a possible expanded role for antigen testing.

Questions remain for Cabinet around nightclubs, and extended opening hours for bars and restaurants.

It’s expected there will be a mix of views at the Cabinet table this morning.

Some Ministers will advocate a cautious go-ahead with the easing of some of the restrictions, while others would prefer to delay rather than face having to reimpose measures down the line.

The Cabinet meeting started at 9am this morning, with an announcement expected by lunchtime.

Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said they have to be careful.

“We are in a much different position to that of last year.

“We have reopened significant sectors of society, with significant impact on our economy to the better.

“I think we need to protect all of that, and we need to proceed with caution over the next couple of months to defeat this virus.”


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