The Irish government is expected to increase Covid-19 restrictions but reject a recommendation from its Chief Medical Officer to move the country to Level 5 full lockdown.
This comes as Ireland experiences a rise in cases following the easing of restrictions for the Christmas season.
According to local media, the government’s sub-committee on Covid-19 agreed on a series of measures last night, including the closure of all pubs and restaurants from mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, and two senior members of NPHET briefed the Cabinet sub-committee, which includes the leaders of the country’s three coalition government leaders along with the Ministers for Health, Finance and Public Expenditure.
Holohan expressed the view that Ireland should move to Level 5 restrictions because the Covid-19 situation here was what he termed gravely concerning. He told the Government they should immediately act to close the hospitality sector from Christmas Eve, along with cinemas, theatres, and personal services like hairdressers.
They also agreed that the ban on any travel from the UK to Ireland should be extended to 31 December. However, it is understood that some non-essential retail outlets, and gyms, should be allowed to stay open.
The Restaurants Association of Ireland described the closure of hospitality from Christmas Eve as a “disastrous, devastating and crushing blow” to Ireland’s restaurants and bars.
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