Cabinet sub-committee recommends Level 5 restrictions until April
By the time the restrictions are reviewed again, Ireland will have been in lockdown for over three months.
The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 has advised that Level 5 restrictions should remain in place in Ireland until early April.
The sub-committee met at Government buildings on Monday night to agree a recommendation that the measures should be extended, before being reviewed again around 5 April, at which point they will then be further extended or eased.
This means there will be no major lifting of restrictions next month, apart from the reopening of schools and childcare, as part of the new plan which is expected to be announced on Tuesday.
There will be no change to the 5km travel rule until 5 April and an updated Living with Covid plan is expected to be published this week.
The sub-committee agreed a recommendation for a phased reopening of schools in the coming weeks, but the final decision will be made at a Cabinet meeting today.
Schools are expected to begin reopening from 1 March, and childcare similarly will resume on a phased basis, starting with the ECCE preschool scheme on 8 March and remaining early years childcare by the end of March.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly suggested on Monday night that talks were ongoing between the Minister for Education and teaching unions on schools reopening but has since clarified that talks have concluded.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Donnelly explained that the talks "had concluded" and there would be an announcement on reopening the schools by the government later today.
Clarification re return of schools - Meetings with the teaching unions concluded early this afternoon. Government intends making an announcement after Cabinet in line with plans as already outlined.
— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) February 23, 2021