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Possibility of a fourth wave of COVID-19 in Ireland? Level 5 restrictions are likely to remain in place in May

DUBLIN: Level 5 restrictions are expected to remain tight in May, given the threat of a fourth wave of COVID-19. The cabinet meeting on Tuesday was expected to remove the 5km travel limit from April 5 and allow minor concessions, including outdoor sports training for children. Ahead of Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, NPHET, the Cabinet Sub – Committee and the Cabinet COVID Sub – Committee will meet separately. Only then will a decision be made.

Senior government sources have warned of the danger of a fourth wave in April and May. The reproduction rate of the virus is now 1.3. The growing number of new cases in Dublin is also worrying.

At the same time, there is a strong argument in the government that if no more concessions are given from next month, it will put the people in big trouble.

Some ministers have demanded that two households be allowed outdoor visits in public places. Because, they point out, this is happening within current restrictions.

Some ministers have strongly urged the removal of the 5km limit on all non-essential travel, with a new limit of between 10km and 15km effective April 5.

They also demanded that the construction of private houses be allowed to resume from the beginning of next month, while community housing projects and some other constructions that are deemed necessary are allowed to continue.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is advocating for a phased return of the construction sector. But the government is concerned about the possibility of reopening schools after the Easter break.

Although no final decision has been made, top government sources have hinted that the Taoiseach may announce a blueprint for possible resumes in the non-essential retail sector and the hospitality industry in May and June. This will be confirmed only after further discussions.

Some ministers say the restrictions should be reviewed within four weeks, while others argue that they should be reviewed six weeks in advance.

It has been suggested that the reopening of the retail and hospitality sectors should take place after the most vulnerable, including those over 70, have been vaccinated. This will take at least until the end of May. Meanwhile, the government hopes that no new virus strains will emerge.

There are indications that outdoor sports training for children, golf and tennis and click and collect services may be allowed from next month. It is doubtful whether the construction site will be allowed to reopen as secondary students return to school in April.

Meanwhile, as more people began to flock to the hotel quarantine, a number of families have come forward with arguments that the facilities provided are inadequate. Yesterday, 34 new travellers arrived at the hotel quarantine. The Ministry of Health has announced a fine of €2,000 for violating the Hotel Quarantine Act.

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