Ireland could remain in full lockdown until MAY - warns NPHET
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Ireland could remain in full lockdown until MAY - warns NPHET

THE NATIONAL Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has warned that Level 5 restrictions could remain in place until May unless Covid-19 figures decrease significantly.

They've stressed that we could be facing full lockdown for another four months unless behaviours change and people stop breaking public health rules.

Dr Mary Favier, Covid adviser to the Irish College of General Practitioners, said: "We are not doing enough, there is still too much movement."

She said that traffic on Ireland's roads is far heavier now than it was during the first lockdown last March, with far more people risking going into work.

While the vast majority of the population is following the rules, Dr Favier says she's very concerned with how many people are still "out and about".

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"GPs are continuing to see lots of Covid cases. We had thought it had eased, but towards the end of last week we started seeing asymptomatic patients that need testing," she told Newstalk Breakfast on Monday.

She stressed that unless significant, collective effort was made to reduce movement, the numbers will decrease very slowly, hospitals will still be under pressure, and that means lockdown measures will more than likely have to remain in place.

"We have to reduce contacts," she added.

"We're still going to be in this situation until March, April or May."

Dr Favier joined Ireland's Chief Medical Officer this morning in encouraging people not to go into work if they didn't absolutely need to.

Meanwhile, infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) says that it'll take weeks for the third wave to begin to subside.

"We are still seeing those secondary cases in households and it takes a few weeks for those numbers to really drop.

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"I think it is dropping and I'm hoping that it will continue to drop in the next couple of weeks.

"I'm reasonably optimistic that it will," he said.