The next cautious steps will be announced this week.
As the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response prepares to meet this evening, the Government’s updated Living with Covid plan is set to be signed off after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.
An Taoiseach Micheál Martin is expected to address the nation and explain the reasoning behind the extended measures to a lockdown-weary public tomorrow afternoon.
The Taoiseach has already confirmed that, apart from the phased reopening of schools for junior and senior infants, first and second class and Leaving Certificate students beginning on March 1st, Level 5 restrictions are likely to remain in place until May.
The measures will be reviewed on a monthly basis going forward.
Pubs and restaurants are not expecting a green light to reopen until June or July, while non-essential retail, salons and barbers have been left in the dark about when they can plan to open their doors for the first time in 2021.
Level of disease ‘remains high’
A further 679 new cases of coronavirus and one further death from the disease were confirmed in the past 24 hours.
“While the level of disease in our communities remains very high, we are still making progress.” said Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health.
“We have reported less than 1,000 cases each day this week and our 7 day average has fallen from 1,022 two weeks ago, to 862 last week, to 792 today. The number of people in hospital has fallen from over 1,200 two weeks ago, to 744 today.
“Do not underestimate the power of your actions as we seek to protect the gains we have made and further reduce transmission. This week, please continue to work from home unless essential and do not visit other households unless for essential reasons or as part of a support bubble.”
As of last Thursday, there have been 326,475 doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in Ireland. 120,520 people have received their second dose.
I know we’re getting tired of lockdown but here’s positive thought for the week ahead. Next week, for first time, more than 100k people will receive vaccine. Rampup continues. In April, it’ll be c250k a week. Vacination works and will help us end pandemic. Summer should be better
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) February 21, 2021
Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar offered a little positivity to his Twitter followers this morning:
“I know we’re getting tired of lockdown but here’s positive thought for the week ahead.” he tweeted.
“Next week, for first time, more than 100k people will receive vaccine. Ramp-up continues. In April, it’ll be c250k a week. Vaccination works and will help us end pandemic. Summer should be better.”