THE GOVERNMENT is expected to announce only a very limited easing of restrictions after a dire warning from public health experts.
Yesterday, members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) sat to discuss the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and what restrictions, if any, can be lifted safely at the proposed next phase on Monday, 5 April.
Ireland has been in Level 5 lockdown since late December, but despite visits to households banned, shops and hospitality closed and people unable to go further than 5km from home, daily cases of the virus are on the rise again and there are fears a fourth wave could hit Irish shores.
But while Irish people are hoping for a return to normality, it appears this may take some time, as NPHET have given government officials a stark warning that lifting too much could easily lead to a fourth wave of infections that could last until mid-summer and threaten the reopening of hospitality and retail.
Sources at the meeting hosted by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn described the meeting as "grim", the Irish Independent reports, while another said that NPHET wants to prevent any easing of restrictions for a further six to eight weeks to protect the health service and prevent another wave.
Schools are set to return in full from 12 April, and this is a government priority. Other things which may possibly change are the 5km rule, some outdoor visits allowed, the possible return of amateur outdoor sport and construction resuming.
A source worried that the government "didn't lower expectations enough", and that any easing of restrictions next month will be extremely gradual.