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21st Jan 2021

Covid restrictions to last “well into February,” says Coveney

Jade Hayden

Cases are “still too high”.

Ireland’s current Covid-19 restrictions will last “well in February,” Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

The minister told the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last night that Level 5 measures will be extended past the end of this month and will remain in place “for future weeks.”

Deputy party leader Coveney added that Ireland’s current Covid situation will be discussed in-depth at next week’s Cabinet sub-committee but that the “vast majority of restrictions” will stay in place across the country well into next month.

RTÉ News reports that elsewhere, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Ireland’s Covid-19 numbers were “still too high” to consider the ease of restrictions and that he “needs to get them down”

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, Martin told TDs and Senators that the country still has “some distance to go” in dealing with the spread of the virus.

Ireland’s current restrictions are in place until at least January 31 but they will be revised before then.

2,488 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday and 61 new deaths. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said last week that we could be looking at March before hospitality businesses will be permitted to reopen again.

“Government will review the situation on January 30 and confer with NPHET and seek advice from other groups as well, and make a decision as to what we can do from February 1,” he said.

“To people who are in business and work for businesses that are closed, realistically the safest thing is prepare for the fact we may not be able to reopen those business until the end of March.”

Schools across the country are currently expected to reopen on February 1. The government this week went back on its decision to reopen schools and classes for children with special needs following talks with INTO.