Ireland set for 8 more weeks of lockdown - NPHET warns

Ireland set for 8 more weeks of lockdown - NPHET warns

THE NATIONAL Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has warned that there will be eight more weeks of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland.

They say that a mass vaccine roll-out is needed before an end to lockdown can be considered, and estimates suggest it could be two months before anything significant changes.

Cabinet will meet with NPHET on Monday to discuss a potential easing of restrictions on April 5.

While the first week of next month was initially earmarked as the beginning of the end of Ireland's lockdown, it looks as though only minor changes will happen, if any at all.

The 5km travel limit is reportedly being considered, as are restrictions on outdoor gatherings, construction and sport.

Earlier this week, Government sources revealed that haircuts will be "off the cards" until late May, and that pubs will likely stay closed until late June.

It comes after top doctors at the Health Service Executive (HSE) expressed concern that Ireland's Covid-19 case figures are moving in the wrong direction, and that a mixture of schools reopening, St Patrick's Day meet-ups, Mother's Day meet-ups and play dates have created a volatile viral situation.

"Moving between play dates, Patrick's Day parties, Mother's Day parties where more and more people are coming together, they are not appreciating the risk of onward transmission," said Dr Miriam Owens of the HSE.

"Children are reflecting what is in the community. What seems to be happening in the community is people are getting tired and feel it is time to relax. But it is not time to relax."

Recently, there's been a 50% increase in cases in young children, but only a "fraction" are said to be linked to schools.

Professor Philip Nolan said: "I know it is a controversial thing for me to say, but simply because things are happening at the same time - because they are happening concurrently - does not impact a direct cause-and-effect relationship."