Michael Staines
Michael Staines

06.49 12 Nov 2020


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The Taoiseach is facing renewed pressure from within his own party after he suggested the country would move to Level Three restrictions in December.

Micheál Martin told the Dáil that the aim was to move to Level Three, with the possibility of some changes to the rules to allow for indoor dining.

He said any decision on ‘moderating’ the rules would be based on the virus figures.

At a Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting last night however, he came under pressure from his party colleagues to go to Level Two restrictions – which would allow travel between counties and more visitors to the home.

Announcing the lockdown last month, Mr Martin said the country would be able to “celebrate Christmas in meaningful way” if people got behind the restrictions.

Level Three

Under the Government roadmap, Level Three restrictions ban indoor dining with restaurants, bars and cafés only allowed to offer takeaway and outdoor service.

No visitors are allowed in the home or garden except for essential purposes.

Level Two

Level Two allows for indoor seating in bars and restaurants with capacity limits and individual groups limited to six people.

A maximum of six visitors from between one and three other households “depending on the health advice at the time” are permitted in the home.

There are no restrictions on travel across the island.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting today to review progress under the current lockdown.

Improvement

There were 362 new coronavirus cases announced last night and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the profile of the disease was improving.

"I urge everyone to redouble their efforts, try and have fewer close contacts this week than you did last week, continue to social distance and follow the other vitally important public health guidelines.”

As of this afternoon, 280 COVID-19 patients are in Irish hospitals, including 38 in intensive care.

Meanwhile, there is increased concern over the situation in Donegal, where the 14-day incidence of the virus once again rose above 300 – the only county in Ireland facing such high levels.

There was just one spare bed available in Letterkenny Hospital last night, with 25 COVID-19 patients and four suspected patients undergoing treatment.

North

Meanwhile, there is still no decision on an extension to the ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in Northern Ireland.

If the Stormont Executive fails to reach and agreement by midnight, the current restrictions will expire, leaving shops, bars and restaurants free to open their doors.

More talks are due to take place later today, with businesses still in the dark about what will happen tomorrow morning.


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