Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.18 18 Oct 2020


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It will be Monday evening at the earliest before we know whether a second lockdown will be approved by the Government.

Lengthy meetings on Saturday broke up without any agreement on whether or not to implement NPHET's advice.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan briefed the three leaders of the coalition parties, along with senior ministers, on the proposal to impose level five coronavirus restrictions for six weeks.

A statement following the meeting said the CMO gave an analysis of the virus in each region of the country, while HSE Chief Executive Paul Reid gave an assessment of current hospital response capacity and an update on the test and trace system.

Presentations were also given on the economic, employment and society-wide implications of moving to severe restrictions.

Other significant issues such as mental health and domestic violence were also discussed.

The Government said fundamental to the discussions "was the overarching aim of protecting lives and livelihoods."

The health team told ministers that children were safer in schools, transmission rates are low and that "the continued opening of schools is very important to the development and well-being of children".

The Cabinet is set meet on Monday to consider the matter further.

'Take time to get it right'

Speaking after the meeting, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he believes the numbers in hospitals do not warrant any change in the level of restrictions.

"One thing I would say is that the numbers, while they're rising, the numbers in hospitalisation and in ICU - obviously they're rising and you're keeping a very sharp eye on that - but they're not going up in a way that taking a day or two to consider the implications of any actions.

"It's appropriate I think to take that time and to get it right as best we can".

It comes as a record 1,276 new cases of COVID-19 were reported here on Saturday.

Some 278 cases were in Dublin, 149 in Cork, 108 in Meath, 107 Galway and 80 in Wexford.

The remaining 554 cases were spread across 21 counties.

While new figures show that Cavan is the county with the highest 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population for coronavirus cases.

NPHET data shows it has an incident rate of 758.8 - far above the second highest county Meath, which stands at 450.2.

Donegal has an incidence rate of 356.2, Monaghan is at 350.2 and Clare rounds out the top five at 320.7.

The cities of Dublin (201.8), Cork (256) and Galway (262.7) all have incidence rates of more than 200.

Additional reporting: Stephen Bourke

Main image: Green Party leader Eamon Ryan leaves Government Buildings after meeting the Chief Medical Officer and his team, who briefed ministers and party leaders on why they should move to Level five. Picture by: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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