IRELAND IS facing six weeks of the highest level of restrictions to help stem the spread of coronavirus, multiple outlets are reporting this afternoon.
A cabinet meeting is underway to discuss the latest advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), who recommended for the second time in two weeks that Ireland should move to Level 5 restrictions.
It was believed that the Government would instead support a move to Level 4+ restrictions-- stricter than Level 4 but less strict than Level 5-- however The Irish Times and other Irish outlets report that the Cabinet is now preparing a move to Level 5.
The restrictions would potentially be in place for six weeks, up until the end of November, with the hope the country could then relax restrictions to Level 3 followed by Level 2 in the lead-up to Christmas.
Senior Government sources allegedly told The Irish Times that Ministers are currently being asked to approve a return to the highest restrictions not seen since March and April this year, with a ban on moving further than 10km from your home-- apart for work and essential reasons-- tipped as one of the potential new rules.
A source told the outlet that the draconian measures were "very depressing" but it was the only way to ensure a reverse int he trajectory of the virus.
Reduced off-license hours are also being discussed, with businesses possibly being asked to close at 8pm in line with the current rules in Northern Ireland. Other non-essential, close-contact businesses such as hairdressers will also close their doors to the public again.
Schools will reportedly remain open, however.
Any decision made would likely take a few days to come into effect in order to allow the public to make necessary arrangements.
The Government is expected to make an official announcement at around 9pm tonight.