Government accepts Covid-19 cases will rise in December

However, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government will be watching the figures closely and taking advice from the chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan in the coming weeks.
Government accepts Covid-19 cases will rise in December

Mr Coveney said non-essential retail is not as risky as initially had been thought, but wet pubs pose a danger which is why they will remain closed over Christmas.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has warned that cases of Covid-19 will increase in the coming weeks and has urged the public to do their bit to avoid a dramatic spike.

Mr Coveney said non-essential retail is not as risky as initially had been thought, but wet pubs pose a danger which is why they will remain closed over Christmas.

However, he said the Government will be watching the figures closely and taking advice from the chief medical officer Tony Holohan in the coming weeks.

"Everybody is expecting that in the next number of weeks we're going to see an increase in the numbers, but the challenge is to keep that increase as low as possible."

He said the pace of that spread and the reasons behind clusters as they develop would be looked at and responded to in as targeted and as specific a way as possible.

"This is about learning lessons. It's not about blaming people or targeting people it's about learning lessons on the basis of what works and what doesn't work to contain this virus. "

He said that vaccines will be available in the first quarter of next year and the entire country needs to "stick with" the guidance around social distancing, hand washing and limiting contacts until then.

However, he said the Government will be watching the figures closely and taking advice from the chief medical officer Tony Holohan in the coming weeks. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin
However, he said the Government will be watching the figures closely and taking advice from the chief medical officer Tony Holohan in the coming weeks. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Asked about Brexit, Mr Coveney said fishing is an outstanding issue which is "highly political and emotive" for both sides.

He said: "We recognise that fish is a very sensitive issue for the UK side but it's also a significant issue for us as well.

"The Irish fishing interests in UK waters are significant. It's about sustainably managing stocks, many of those fish are born and grow in Irish waters before they swim into British waters where they are caught in the case of mackerel in particular.

"So these are shared stocks, and what the UK is trying to do is create this perception that they own all fish that are caught in their waters, as opposed to it being a shared stock, in many cases."

Mr Coveney told RTÉ's Morning Ireland programme: "What the EU is in my view rightly saying is that as the UK looks for access into EU markets in many many areas, whether that's the EU energy market, whether it's in terms of data security, whether it's aviation whether it's road haulage and whether it's selling into EU markets tariff-free and quota-free, there is a counter ask from the EU which says that we want access into your fishing waters."

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