The lockdown is set to continue for another nine weeks.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that, apart from the phased reopening of schools for junior and senior infants and Leaving Certificate students beginning in March, Level 5 restrictions could be in place until April at the earliest.
Last night, health experts warned that, while the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care is falling, the overall decline in coronavirus cases has stalled.
Pubs, restaurants and other services including salons and barbers may be closed until at least May, allowing for a gradual easing of restrictions once a significant proportion of the population has been vaccinated.
Speaking to the Irish Mirror, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that while the latest lockdown has been long, he believes “it’s worth it”.
“We are looking at a continuation of severe restrictions right into April,” he said. “We’ve already certainly indicated that beyond Easter we’ll look at it again but until the end of April you can look at significant restrictions and we’ll review it after that then because we’ll have to see where we are.”
The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Covid-19 will meet again on Monday, with an updated ‘Living With Covid-19’ plan expected next week.
‘Nobody knows’ if summer staycations will be possible
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the outlook for the summer and whether inter-county travel will be possible, is uncertain.
“Everything is not being taken off the table but I think it is important to look at what has happened when we have come out of more severe restrictions in the past,” he said.
“The simple answer is nobody knows. NPHET doesn’t know.”
Minister Donnelly said it is “too early to advise on how and when” because of the variants of the virus and the continuing vaccine rollout.
Situation ‘remains precarious’
A further 47 deaths and 901 cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. 771 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised, of which 151 are in ICU.
“Although we have made great progress, the situation remains precarious.” said Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.
“Almost 90% of cases in Ireland are the B117 variant. The increased transmissibility of this variant is apparent in the current profile of the disease in households, with one in three household contacts of a confirmed case testing positive for Covid-19.
“This underlines the need for people to exercise caution in households and other settings. In particular, people should isolate immediately on experiencing any symptoms and contact their GP.”