Return of Covid restrictions before Christmas unlikely, say Donnelly and Ryan

Return of Covid restrictions before Christmas unlikely, say Donnelly and Ryan

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said Ireland's 14-day incidence rate is currently at around 500 cases per 100,000 of the population. File picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The Government is not currently looking at implementing fresh restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, according to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, despite the worrying rise in case numbers and hospitalisation.

Speaking on his way into this morning's Cabinet meeting, Mr Donnelly acknowledged that the Covid situation will get worse before it gets better.

“We're not looking at additional restrictions but we are very keen to get the message out that the case numbers are serious,” he said.

It is going to get worse before it gets better.

Mr Donnelly said the number of Covid-19 cases over the past week is the fourth-highest since the pandemic began.

“The average number of cases in the last week has been the fourth-worst week since Covid-19 arrived here. Only three weeks have been higher, three weeks in January,” said Mr Donnelly. 

Ireland's 14-day incidence rate is currently at about 500 cases per 100,000 of the population, he said.

Regarding the night-time economy, the minister said the Government had "gone quite far"  in terms of easing restrictions and allowing reopening, and said that the introduction of ticketing is to keep people safe.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has also said he doesn’t believe additional Covid-19 restrictions will be introduced for Christmas.

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 met last night, and Mr Ryan played down the possibility of new restrictions being imposed.

“We discussed that last night – neither Tony Holohan nor anyone else in the room felt that would be the appropriate response,” he said.

“As well as personal responsibility, I think sectors have a responsibility: every organisation that’s organising an event [should] do it in a way that keeps people [socially] distant."

“It’s just about being cognisant that the virus is out there, at scale, and for all our interests it’s best to put simple measures in place. But I don’t think it will be returning to restrictions.”

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