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Donohoe offered no guarantee that Govt will not re-impose stricter conditions

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said there is no guarantee that the Government will not re-impose stricter restrictions in the coming weeks.

He assured that Covid-19 situation will be reviewed on a daily and weekly basis. Minister Donohoe said the Government has to respond to the disease itself.

While more latitude is available to people in the coming weeks and beyond for meeting with others, he said it is still vital to minimise contacts.

Restrictions on household visits and travel around the country are due to be eased tomorrow, with people being allowed to travel outside their county until 6 January.

Up to three households will also be able to gather indoors. Meanwhile the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to meet today, amid concern about an increase in cases of Covid-19.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said there were significant indicators that the disease was moving in the wrong direction.

He said the five-day average number of cases had increased to 339 – up by almost 100 in a week.

Ireland was in a precarious situation, he said, because of the potential widespread inter-household and inter-generational mixing over Christmas. He urged people not to give Covid-19 the chance to spread.

Despite hopes that vaccination will begin here before the end of the month, people have been warned against premature complacency as the effects on the general population will not be seen until the middle of 2021.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil the Government would be meeting weekly and would not let the numbers go out of control.

The Tánaiste is reported as telling members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party that restrictions on gatherings are likely to stay in place for some months to come.

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