Restrictions to continue ‘well into February’ – Coveney

Level 5 restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19 are set to be extended, with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney saying they will be maintained “well into February”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said coronavirus transmission numbers were “still too high”.

Addressing the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last night, the Taoiseach gave a clear signal that Level 5 restrictions will not be eased by Cabinet next week in any significant way.

He told his party’s TDs, Senators and MEPs that the recent increase in deaths from Covid-19 shows the devastation which this virus causes, and contended Ireland still has “some distance to go” in dealing with that threat.

Mr Martin said that, as it stands, the coronavirus numbers are still “too high” and the country “needs to get them down”

He said there is, what he termed, a “clear horizon” for restrictions continuing beyond this month.

Speaking at the Fine Gael parliamentary party, Mr Coveney was more blunt, saying the vast majority of Covid-19 restrictions will be maintained well into February.

He argued that the current restrictions are working and the rapid increase of Covid in communities has stopped.

But he concluded that the current health restrictions will remain for several more weeks.

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Yesterday, 61 more Covid-related deaths and 2,488 further cases were reported.

New figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre for the week to 16 January show the number of Covid-19 outbreaks increased last week.

Overall outbreaks increased to 293 compared to 220 the previous week. The main increases were seen in residential institutions and hospitals.

The number of outbreaks in workplaces also rose to 41 compared with 25 the previous week. Private house outbreaks reduced for the second week in a row.