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Minister Eamon Ryan suggests possible new restrictions following CMO’s urgent warning

DUBLIN: Eamon Ryan has suggested possible new restrictions following CMO, Dr Tony Holohan’s urgent warning that a larger outbreak could now be seen in Ireland than at any stage of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan suggested that the 5 km exercise limit could be reduced to 2 km if the current COVID-19 spike in Ireland is not declining. He added that travel restrictions would be considered further if the virus is not brought under control.

“It’s always in our hands to the level of contact we have, so whether that’s for example reducing the travel restrictions from 5km down to 2km, which we did last March and April, and there’s a range of other different measures we could look at. But that’s for a week or two’s time, if we find that the numbers aren’t starting to flatten off and decrease,” the Green Party leader said.

Minister Eamon Ryan also said there are no plans to extend the closure of schools and that schools would reopen on January 11.

Health officials in Ireland confirmed 4,962 COVID-19 cases and seven deaths yesterday. Of the cases notified yesterday, 1,260 cases were in Dublin, 652 in Limerick, 350 in Cork, 321 in Louth, 238 in Meath and 2,141 spread across all remaining counties. As of yesterday, 685 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalised, of which 62 are in ICU.

“The incidence of COVID-19 is as high, if not higher now than it was in March. Every individual needs to act as if they are infectious. Hospitalisations are rising to levels close to what we saw in the springtime. Everyone needs to stay at home other than for essential work or care,” the CMO said.

“It is really important that vulnerable and older people do not leave their homes unless absolutely essential. This includes asking neighbours or family to carry out errands such as grocery shopping, limiting all contacts to only those people you live with or have to visit for essential care reasons. We need to rediscover the spirit of solidarity and community we saw in March and April so that we can all do our part in protecting older and vulnerable people,” Dr. Holohan added.

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