Further restrictions for Christmas cannot be ruled out, says Taoiseach
It comes as several new measures were announced on Tuesday.
After announcing new measures to combat the spread of Covid, Michael Martin has said that further restrictions cannot be ruled out in the run-up to Christmas.
The Taoiseach said it remains to be seen if the new restrictions will be "sufficient" and that he was “not ruling out further measures”, The Irish Times reports.
Speaking to the nation on Tuesday evening, he said that the phased re-opening of society and the socialisation that we have enjoyed recently "comes with a cost, and that cost is an increased risk of infection".
People are now being advised to work from home from Friday on unless it is necessary to attend work in-person.
Bars, restaurants, and nightclubs will now have to close at midnight from Thursday on.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin says that the current surge of Covid-19 cases is a dramatic reminder of what the virus can do, and action must be taken now. He says that the vaccination and booster programme remains at the core of the response to the disease | https://t.co/UlIYKhvibc pic.twitter.com/L1Olq62Oee
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 16, 2021
Household close contacts will have to restrict their movements for five days and have three negative antigen test results over the course of those five days.
The Government has also expressed its plans for wider use of antigen testing in the coming weeks. To allow for this, it is expected it will supply antigen tests at a reduced rate of €3 each through pharmacies.
"It remains to be seen as to whether these measures will be sufficient to hold back the tide of the infection on hospitalisation," Mr. Martin explained.
"We could reduce socialisation by closing a lot more. But we don't want to close a lot more yet."
When asked if more restrictions could be avoided, he said: "Nobody can guarantee anything in relation to Covid-19."
He added that the situation would be reviewed in the coming weeks to determine whether additional measures are required.
Public health experts have indicated they could make further recommendations in the near future if cases continue to surge.
Revised modelling presented to the Government suggested that the current surge of Covid won't reach its peak for another four weeks and hospitals will continue to face intense pressure.
As of Tuesday, 4,407 new cases of Covid had been confirmed. 614 people are in hospital, with 114 of those in intensive care units.
Main Image Credit: Julien Behal/Rollingnews.ie