Jack Quann
Jack Quann

06.32 6 Jan 2021


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Government ministers will sign-off on closing schools and construction until the end of the month later.

It comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the country is now experiencing a "considerable surge in cases and hospitalisations."

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As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 840 COVID-19 patients in Irish hospitals and 76 people in intensive care.

Some 5,325 confirmed cases were announced on Tuesday, alongside 17 further virus-related deaths.

Officials said 16 of the deaths occurred this month.

The 14-day rate of the virus in Ireland is now 674.4 per 100,000 people. The seven-day incidence has risen to 522.7, while the five-day average is now 4,309.

The Cabinet will meet on Wednesday to finalise new restrictions on the construction sector and extend school closures.

Both sectors will not be allowed to resume until at least January 31st - however some essential building projects like social housing will be exempt.

Schools for children with special needs are also likely to be allowed remain open, while creches will be able to provide childcare for essential workers.

A requirement for people travelling into Ireland to provide a negative coronavirus test is also expected to get the green light from ministers.

'Click and collect' removal

They will also approve extra restrictions on retail that would see 'click and collect' in shops replaced by delivery only.

The move could potentially impact take-away food services, where customers have to physically enter premises.

In a statement, fast-food chain McDonald's says its dine-in and walk-in takeaway services will be stopped temporarily while it reviews its safety procedures.

It says: "As per the Irish Government's current guidance, all of our drive-thru's will remain open and we will continue to provide a delivery service for our customers.

"Our dine-in and walk-in takeaway services will be temporarily unavailable while we take time to review and reassess our safety procedures with an independent health and safety body.

"This is a temporary change in our operations to allow us to test and validate any additional measures that may enhance the safety of our takeaway service."

Main image: Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly at a post-Cabinet press briefing in Dublin Castle. Picture by: JULIEN BEHAL PHOTOGRAPHY / RollingNews.ie

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Click-and-collect Closing Schools Construction Coronavirus Cases Delivery Only Dr Tony Holohan Hospitalisations McDonalds School Closures

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