Taoiseach outlines extension to level five restrictions


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.41 26 Jan 2021


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The Taoiseach Micheál Martin has outlined increased coronavirus restrictions until March 5th.

It was earlier confirmed that level five restrictions will continue until that date.

All current level five restrictions are being extended until March 5th.

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At a post-Cabinet briefing, Mr Martin confirmed the extension of the restrictions - which will also see a clampdown on travel.

"We cannot give the virus or its variants any space - therefore Government has decided to extend all of the current level five restrictions until the 5th of March, with a view to crushing the numbers of those contracting the disease and in turn the numbers needing hospitalisation and intensive care," he said.

Mr Martin said the current level five restrictions "are having a very positive effect", and that the number of close contacts are also coming down.

But he said that hospitals remain under enormous pressure, and that "we must protect the women and men of our health service".

He also stressed that new COVID-19 variants recently identified are "a dangerous development" in the pandemic.

"The message for the next six weeks is very simple: stay at home", he said.

"Do not travel. Do not make any journeys outside of your 5km unless you absolutely have to.

"Hold firm and stick to the basics."

On travel, the Taoiseach said the number of travellers coming into the country has "absolutely collapsed", and the Government is taking further measures to drive that number down.

This will include additional Gardaí at ports and airports, with increased fines for breaking restrictions.

Anyone found to be in breach of the 5km regulation will be subject to an increased fine of €500.

While all visa-free short-term travel from South Africa and South America has been suspended until March 5th.

There will also be mandatory quarantine at "designated facilities" for passengers from Brazil and South Africa.

These facilities are still being identified, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said.

"This is going to take a few weeks to operationalise, I need to be very frank about that," Mr Varadkar said.

"Legislation is required - primary and secondary - we need to identify quarantine hotels, in addition to City West which we already have.

"We need to train staff".

He also said the Government needs to "confer and coordinate further" with the European Union, UK and Stormont Executive.

Mandatory two week quarantine is to be introduced for people who arrive into Ireland without a negative PCR test.

They will also be subject to a fine of €2,500 and/or six months imprisonment.

These regulations will apply to anyone who travels into the country from any port or airport on the island - including port and airports in Northern Ireland.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said they are working with authorities in the North.

"We're going to make sure the current travel regulations, applicable to persons who travel to Ireland from overseas, also applies in respect of passengers who route their journeys via Northern Ireland.

"We're going to amend the passenger locator regulations to require all inborn [sic] passengers, including those going on to Northern Ireland, to provide place of residence and address on the form.

"We're going to conclude arrangements with Northern Ireland regarding data sharing and follow up with passengers who travel via Ireland to Northern Ireland".

Main image: Taoiseach Micheál Martin outlines increased level five coronavirus restrictions at the Government Press Centre in Dublin. Picture by: Julien Behal Photography 

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Coronavirus Coronavirus Restrictions Eamon Ryan Ireland Level Five Restrictions March 5th Micheál Martin Northern Ireland Taoiseach Travel

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