We're in lockdown until at least March 5 – with strict restrictions in place for the foreseeable future
Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction

Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction

Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction

Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction

Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction

Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction
Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction
  • 2021-01-27 09:25:13 29 days ago
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It's official: Ireland is back in Level Five – and for another six weeks.

After several days of speculation and leaks, we finally got confirmation yesterday that the country will be in lockdown until at least March 5.

The Taoiseach said the measures were necessary to bring the virus under control, even as case numbers move in the right direction.

Those hoping for a quicker reopening, meanwhile, got a sobering dose of reality last night, as 90 more tragic deaths were confirmed by public health officials.

As well as an extension of the current measures, the Government has moved to clamp down further on foreign travel, with new rules for those coming into the country and an amped-up Garda presence at airports.

Members of the Gardai at a checkpoint in Santry near Dublin Airport. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Here's everything you need to know about yesterday's announcement:

Most of society stays shut

Pubs, restaurants and retailers got no sign of reprieve yesterday as Micheal Martin told them to keep their doors closed for the foreseeable future.

It's now unlikely that the food-and-drink industry will be back before Easter, with some privately worrying it could be May before boozers are back.

And non-essential retailers can't welcome customers for another six weeks at least, as Ireland persists with a "cautious and conservative" strategy for tackling high case numbers.

An image of Father Jack with 'More Sanitiser' message seen in a window of closed Ha'penny Bridge Pub in Dublin city centre. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto)

No decision on schools

We're not sure yet exactly what the Government's plan is for getting kids back into classrooms.

The Tanaiste has said he wants a phased reopening – starting with special schools and followed by primary schools and exam classes.

But it's not clear yet how or when that will happen.

Construction

Construction sites remain closed for the time being amid fears that the new UK strain of the virus may spell disaster for those mixing in public settings.

It's an unfortunate update for builders across the country – as well as those hoping to get houses and buildings finished.

Foreign travel

A passenger walks inside an empty Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport, during the coronavirus lockdown level 3.

Foreign travel has been thrust under the microscope in recent weeks by opposition politicians determined to pressure the Government into stricter measures.

And while many said the coalition hasn't gone far enough with its new mandatory quarantine rules, it is clear that the Taoiseach and Tanaiste want to be seen to tackle the issue.

So there are going to be tightened rules around hotel quarantine – for those who arrive over without a negative PCR test, at least – as well as new fines for those caught sneaking abroad for a sun holiday.

Bold cases prediction

The Tanaiste said yesterday that case numbers are roughly halving every 10 days – meaning we could be down to 500 cases a day in 10 days' time and "half that again" in under three weeks.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar (Photo: Julien Behal)

Daily case numbers in the low hundreds now feels like an attainable target again, after a gigantic surge over the festive period and in January.

But the Government isn't going to be easing off too soon – not this time, after major backlash the last time a reopening led to a spike.



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Six more weeks of Level 5: The new twist amid bold Government cases prediction