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Level 5 restrictions may end on April 5th; final decision on new Living with COVID-19 plan will be taken at today’s cabinet meeting

DUBLIN: The Government’s new Living with COVID-19 plan has been designed. It indicates that the Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until April 5. The plan will then be reviewed and the next steps will be announced.

The Level 5 restrictions, which were announced until March 5, were initially extended to April 12. Later, the Taoiseach had revealed to the media that the Level 5 restrictions will continue until the first week of May.

Concerns about the persistence of new coronavirus cases have led the Cabinet Committee to impose higher restrictions for another six weeks. At the same time, the government plans to make changes to the Level 5 restrictions as the spread of COVID-19 decreases.

No date has been set for the end of the new Living with COVID-19 plan. Therefore, it is doubtful that this will continue till May.

Meanwhile, 3,30,000 children are expected to arrive in classrooms next Monday. Classes are expected to resume on March 1 for Leaving Cert students, along with junior, senior infant, first class and second class students. It is expected that a final decision in this regard will be taken at today’s cabinet meeting. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) service, which was suspended in January, is set to resume on March 8.

There will be an NPHET review about getting more students into classes. Only then will a decision be made on this regard.

However, Education Minister Norma Foley said she hopes the rest of the primary school children and fifth and third year secondary school students will return in the second half of March.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has called for some construction work to be allowed in the coming weeks. Mr. O’Brien is calling for the work on social housing to be resumed along with the completion of private homes. But other ministers and officials share the concern that the reopening of large construction sites, large-scale labor disputes and travel to other counties could be a problem.

The Government aims to vaccinate 250,000 people a week from the beginning of April. All health workers and those over the age of 70 are expected to get two jabs by mid-May. This will make it easier for the government to ease restrictions.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has announced that England will withdraw its COVID-19 restrictions by June 21 as part of a four-phase plan.

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