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Limited easing of restrictions being considered for April following stark warnings from NPHET

There may be no easing of restrictions on April 5th as the government takes a phased approach to ...
Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

06.17 30 Mar 2021


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Limited easing of restrictions...

Limited easing of restrictions being considered for April following stark warnings from NPHET

Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

06.17 30 Mar 2021


Share this article


There may be no easing of restrictions on April 5th as the government takes a phased approach to easing some measures.

Ministers have said they don't want to do anything to put the full reopening of schools at risk.

Instead, the easing of a limited number of restrictions next month will happen in steps - likely from April 12th.

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This afternoon cabinet Ministers will consider scrapping the 5km travel rule to allow in-county travel.

Construction, children's sport, golf, tennis, and outdoor meet-ups are also set to return over a number of weeks.

NPHET warning

It comes after public health officials gave a sobering presentation to a group of senior Cabinet ministers last night.

The Cabinet sub-committee on COVID heard presentations from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn, modelling expert Prof Philip Nolan and head of the vaccines taskforce Professor Brian MacCraith as part of five hours of consideration of restrictions.

A number of ministers present said the health officials stressed the risk of a significant resurgence of the virus before the summer, fueled by the B117 variant.

They said the analysis showed how precarious the situation still is - and that NPHET advised against any significant easing of restrictions over the coming weeks.

The health officials said case, hospital and ICU numbers are still worse now than at previous peaks.

They also said there would be significant gains from keeping the virus suppressed through lockdown until more people have been vaccinated.

The measures planned for easing in April are still on the table as the Cabinet prepares to meet this afternoon.

However, they won't all be done on April 5th and will likely be phased through the month instead of all at once.

The challenge for Cabinet today will be reaching a compromise that goes far enough to secure continued or renewed public buy-in for restrictions while also heeding the very stark warnings from NPHET.

Main image: File photo of  Deputy CMO Ronan Glynn (l), Taoiseach Micheál Martin (centre) and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly (r). Photo: Julien Behal

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