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Taoiseach confirmed that lockdown restrictions will continue into February

DUBLIN: Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that Ireland’s lockdown restrictions will not be eased by the end of the month and will continue into February. Taoiseach said talks were underway to impose new restrictions on travel. “We are looking at a continuation of restrictions into February. You can take it that we’ll take stock every four weeks of the situation,” Mr. Martin said. In any case, the Taoiseach has confirmed that the lockdown will continue.

The government’s COVID-19 cabinet subcommittee will meet on Monday to discuss extending the existing restrictions. The current restrictions are in effect until January 31. The cabinet meeting on Tuesday will take a final decision on extending the restrictions.

“Given the high level of community transmission out there still, and it is very high out there, I don’t think one can envisage any significant relaxation of restrictions at this particular point in time,” Taoiseach added.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Friday reported 52 deaths and 2,371 new COVID-19 cases in the country. As of Friday night, 1,969 people were hospitalised and 218 were in the intensive care unit.

Schools will not open on February 1

The Taoiseach has made it clear that schools will not reopen on February 1. Martin noted that the government’s focus is to resume classes as soon as possible for students with special educational needs. The possibility of this is being explored under the leadership of the Minister of Education. Education Minister Norma Foley is in talks with teachers’ unions and other education partners.

At the same time, the Prime Minister made it clear that the Republic-Northern Ireland border will not be closed in the name of COVID-19 restrictions. However, he stated the possibility of a compulsory quarantine with the UK. This is also being discussed.

Martin said the cabinet was considering imposing a mandatory quarantine on those entering the country without a negative PCR test. The Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Ireland had called for strict measures to be taken to impose a mandatory quarantine on people coming to the Republic.

The suspension of visa-free travel to certain countries will also be considered. With the advent of new variants of the virus, there is increasing pressure on the government to impose new restrictions on international travel. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the new virus is spreading in Ireland and the UK.

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