Updated 3 hours ago
RESTRICTIONS THAT SIT on a middle ground between Level 4 and Level 5 are a probable scenario for the coming weeks following public health advice recommending that Ireland moves to Level 5 restrictions.
Coalition leaders met today to discuss how to respond to advice to move to Level 5, but are yet to announce an outcome of their meeting.
It is understood that they are leaning towards imposing Level 4 restrictions with some modifications to effectively bring limitations between Level 4 and Level 5.
Any final decision must be made by the full Cabinet, which is due to meet next on Monday.
The three coalition party leaders, along with the Ministers for Health, Finance, and Public Expenditure, met today to discuss whether Ireland should adopt Level 5 restrictions following a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
The politicians heard from senior members of the NPHET team on the current Covid-19 situation in Ireland that led them to the recommendation.
A statement from the Government Press Office said that Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan gave “an analysis of the virus in each region of the country”, and Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid gave “an assessment of current hospital response capacity, and an update on the test and trace system”.
“Presentations were also given on the economic, employment and society wide implications of moving to more severe restrictions. Other significant issues were also discussed such as mental health and domestic violence,” the statement said.
Fundamental to the discussions was the overarching aim of protecting lives and livelihoods.”
“The Health team briefed Ministers that children were safer in schools, transmission rates are low, and that the continued opening of schools is very important to the development and wellbeing of children and young people,” the statement said.
It is understood there has been some hesitance in government to immediately move to Level 5, with suggestions to adopt Level 4 restrictions first and move to Level 5 if necessary.
Some feel that Level 4 restrictions should be tried before any move is made to Level 5, and that the difference between the two levels is a technical one.
Fine Gael ministers are due to meet tomorrow following today’s discussions.
Holohan and Reid, along with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn and Professor Philip Nolan, were called to make a presentation to the ministers meeting today before they discussed the recommendation to move to Level 5.
Before presenting to the ministers, Holohan and Glynn met privately with Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
The NPHET team left Government Buildings shortly after 6pm this evening. Holohan and Glynn arrived earlier in the day around 2pm.
Earlier this week, NPHET recommended that the government moves…