ENTERTAINMENT

Ireland "must be completely nationally locked again," health advisors warn the government


The Irish government has been advised to put the highest Covid-19 restrictions in place nationwide to stop the virus from spreading.

The National Public Health Emergency Team recommended raising all 26 counties to level five for the next four weeks to completely lock them back down.

The move comes after NPHET members held an unscheduled meeting on Sunday chaired by Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), as the number of cases continues to rise.

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Ireland's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Tony Holohan (pictured) chaired a meeting as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Tony Holohan (pictured) chaired a meeting as coronavirus cases continue to rise

The council, which was sent in a letter to the government on Sunday evening, would have to be approved by the cabinet.

Dublin and Donegal are currently subject to level three restrictions under the government's five-step Covid-19 response plan, the rest of the country is subject to level two.

Moving to stage five would mean a return to the toughest of measures, similar to the lockdown earlier this year.

There would be no inter-household visits, only major retail stores would remain open, but schools and crèches would remain open.

Funeral services are restricted to 10 people, and weddings are limited to six people.

Bars, cafes and restaurants are only allowed to offer take-away meals.

People were asked to work from home, limit their movement to three miles from home, and not use public transport.

Visits to nursing homes would be suspended except in compassionate circumstances.

Eamon Ryan (pictured) said he believed the rest of the country could avoid being placed in level three restrictions if the public followed government measures

Eamon Ryan (pictured) said he believed the rest of the country could avoid being placed in level three restrictions if the public followed government measures

The three party leaders in government are expected to meet with the GMO on Monday to discuss the matter.

A total of 364 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Ireland by NPHET.

There have been no new deaths related to the virus.

On Sunday at 8 a.m. there were 134 people with Covid-19 in the hospital and 21 people in intensive care beds.

More than 600 new cases of the virus were confirmed on Saturday, the highest daily number in more than five months.

The move coincides with the warning from the Head of Health at the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland that breaking the circuit breaker there is "almost inevitable" if Covid-19 cases continue to increase.

Dr. Gerry Waldron described the rise in infection rates in the area as worrying.

Earlier, the leader of the Greens said there had been no discussion of a nationwide lockdown in the Irish government and that it wanted to work on a district basis.

Instead, he believed Dublin and Donegal could avoid hitting the level four restrictions if people followed Covid-19's public health guidelines.

Eamon Ryan also said he believes the rest of the country can avoid being placed in level three restrictions if the public adheres to government measures.

"We don't want to eradicate the virus here, I don't think this will be a viable option but rather to stabilize it," he told RTE's The Week In Politics.

“I think there are real concerns when you look at other counties – it's rising very quickly. We need to do the simple things, reduce the number of people we meet, and avoid social contacts.

"If we all do that we can avoid level four, other counties can avoid level three, and I hope Dublin can get back to level two and Donegal."

He added that he believed it was possible that the infection rate could be stabilized, but admitted that everyone would be "anxious" if the daily numbers continued to rise.

Mr Ryan also said the schools would remain open if the districts moved to the level four restrictions.

"I think no matter what, I think the government has an obligation that it matters," he said.

He added, "The international proof is that this can be done safely and I think our schools have done a good job of making it safe for our students."

The acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said Friday that the numbers reported last week represented a significant escalation in the profile of Covid-19 in Ireland.

People of all ages, especially those over 70 and those in need of medical protection, were advised to limit their social contacts to a small core group for a short time while remaining socially distant.

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