Leo Varadkar says the new restrictions may be in place throughout January and February
A reminder that today is only Tuesday...
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has cautioned that the new restrictions being introduced on Christmas Eve could well be in place for the duration of January and February as well.
Speaking on Tuesday, Varadkar said that on the current trajectory, the number of cases will surpass 1,000 per day by Christmas Day and could rise to over 2,000 cases per day by the new year.
He said that while vaccinations are expected to begin before the end of the year, it will be the end of February or early March next year before a critical mass of people have been vaccinated and as such, we can expect restrictions to remain in place for the first two months of the year.
Varadkar added that we're seeing an exponential growth of cases in the country and the government is operating on the basis that the new variant of Covid-19 is already present in Ireland.
Earlier on Tuesday, the government confirmed that Ireland would be returning to Level 5 restrictions with specific exceptions.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced a series of specific exceptions to the Level 5 measures, including non-essential retail services being permitted to remain open, as well as gyms and swimming pools for individual training.
A more comprehensive look at the restrictions can be viewed here.
Martin said UK authorities were confident the new strain of Covid-19 was responsible for more people contracting the virus but said the rising cases in Ireland were the reason for restrictions, not the new strain of Covid-19.