The government will act “decisively and nationwide” on Monday

The government will act “decisively and nationwide” on Monday
The government will act “decisively and nationwide” on Monday
Secretary of Education Simon Harris said the government would put further restrictions on coronavirus in place on Monday. The cabinet meeting will complete its response to a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and rising hospital admissions.

Speaking of RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Harris said, “The government will act tomorrow, the action will be crucial, and the action will be nationwide, it will be nationwide.

“It is now clear that the virus is at such a level in all of our communities that a county-to-county approach is not enough, so we will have to put more restrictions in place tomorrow.”

Mr Harris said the nationwide level 3 restrictions “did not help get the virus where it needs to go”.

He said the government must balance the restrictions “with our honest view of what people can endure or sustain.”

His comments come after political leaders received a briefing from health chiefs on the surge in cases on Saturday.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) recommended switching to level 5 of the Covid-19 restriction framework for six weeks.

At level 5 – the highest level – people are asked to be within 3 miles of their home, as are bars and restaurants that only offer take-away service.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and the leader of the Greens, Eamon Ryan – leader of the coalition parties – met in government buildings in Dublin on Saturday.

The chief physician Dr. Tony Holohan, the deputy chief physician Dr. Ronan Glynn and the epidemiologist Prof. Philip Nolan informed those present.

The talks ended on Saturday evening.

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Chief Physician Dr. Tony Holohan. Photo: Brian Lawless / PA

A government statement confirmed that the cabinet would meet on Monday.

The government said political leaders and ministers had received a briefing on the latest data on Covid-19, including an analysis of the virus in each region, hospital capacity and an update to the testing and tracking system.

Presentations were also given on the economic, employment and societal effects of moving to tighter restrictions.

Other important issues were also discussed, including mental health and domestic violence.

“The overriding goal of protecting life and livelihoods was fundamental to the discussions,” the statement said.

The health team informed ministers that children are safer in schools, transmission rates are low and that the continued opening of schools is very important for the development and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

When Mr. Ryan left the meeting, he described the problems as “complex”.

“Today was a long series of meetings, but it’s complex, there are so many different variables, health, our employees, and all the other things that are affected in one way or another in how we respond,” he said .

“We’ll be back early next week, the government will keep dealing with the matter and do a lot more work in the meantime.

He added: “Of course we share the concerns [of Dr Tony Holohan] Looking at the numbers, the incidents of the virus are increasing. It is clearly a real problem across Europe, across the world, and here too.

“We’ve listened carefully, but the government needs to balance a number of variables. Yes, we need to study the effects of the virus, but also the effects in so many different ways on society and how we react to it. ”

Sinn Féin President Mary-Lou McDonald said the government must “do whatever it takes to protect life and health.”

“You also need to provide financial / income protection,” she tweeted.

“Jobs, livelihoods and life in balance. No direction, comment, or endorsement from the government. Not good enough.”

On Friday, Mr. Martin described the situation as “very serious”.

“We will need further action in this regard,” he said.

It comes after a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country in recent weeks and a surge in hospital admissions.

Currently, Dublin, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan counties are in the fourth tier while the rest of the country is in the third tier.

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A sign in the window of a clothing store on Main Street, Cavan. Photo: Brian Lawless / PA

In the meantime, Northern Ireland has faced tighter restrictions for four weeks to halt the rapid rise in cases.

On Saturday, Nphet confirmed another 1,276 cases of Covid-19 in the republic, bringing the national total to 48,678.

Eight other deaths from the virus have been recorded, bringing the total to 1,849. Of the eight, one performed in June, two in September, and five in October.

Of the most recent cases in Ireland, 278 were in Dublin, 149 in Cork, 108 in Meath, 107 in Galway, 80 in Wexford – and the remaining 554 cases are spread across 21 counties.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., 260 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized, 30 of whom are in the intensive care unit.

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