Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.34 18 Sep 2020


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Cabinet has accepted the full NPHET advice to move Dublin to level three of coronavirus restrictions, with some additional measures also expected.

Measures including the banning of indoor dining will also be put in place.

One Minister described the mood in the room as worried as they left the meeting.

While the cabinet meeting heard a lot of sympathy for businesses who may now have to close, there was little robust opposition to the measures which are viewed as necessary to stop the increasing number of cases being seen in Dublin.

It comes as a NPHET expert warns that coronavirus will spiral out of control in the capital without action.

Professor Philip Nolan has said people are misreading data on how prevalent the spread of COVID-19 is from restaurants and bars.

Ministers have been meeting this afternoon to consider whether to ban indoor dining in Dublin for the next few weeks - a restriction which would be a step beyond the 'level three' guidelines outlined earlier this week.

An full announcement on the measures is expected before 6pm.

The official data records just three clusters of COVID-19 in pubs and restaurants nationwide in the last week.

However, Professor Philip Nolan suggested that asking why they're being closed despite the low number of outbreaks is "misreading and misinterpreting" the data.

He said people may pick up COVID-19 in one of those settings, but not start spreading it for three of four days.

Community transmission cases

The NPHET modeller said that settings like bars, restaurants and gyms are where people are actually picking up the virus - but are not reflected in the figures.

He said: "We know that in Dublin at least one in three cases are community transmission.

"Where is this happening? Wherever we mix socially: our houses, gyms, bars, restaurants. Sadly, unless we stop mixing in these settings, we know the disease will spiral out of control."

Professor Nolan also warned that public health officials don't have the resources to track down the source of community transmission cases.

He said: "Of course our colleagues in public health would track down the source if they had the resources to do so, but they don’t, and must prioritise the management of cases, outbreaks and onward transmission."

Main image: File photo. Picture by Sasko Lazarov/Rollingnews.ie

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