IRELAND'S LOCKDOWN is set to remain in place for the planned full six weeks, despite a large drop in cases.
This is likely due to the previous Fine Gael Government facing accusations that they accelerated the summer roadmap too quickly, which may have attributed to the second wave and second lockdown.
Ireland was placed under Level 5 restrictions on 21 October, and is set to be in place until 1 December; the six-week lockdown will not end early, Taoiseach Micheál Martin reiterated yesterday.
According to The Irish Times, the Taoiseach addressed a weekly Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting and stated that the full six weeks would be needed to ensure low cases for December, particularly the Christmas period where people would be mixing with family.
Mr Martin and the Government are assessing all data and statistics to help form an exit strategy from 1 December, where it is anticipated the country will move from Level 5 to Level 3, which would allow non-essential retail to open and for households to mix indoors.
The Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, also told members of his party that there would be no review of the restrictions until at least four of the planned six weeks had passed, according to The Irish Times.
The restrictions are working, as can be seen in the huge drop in daily cases in the two weeks since Level 5 was introduced.
Yesterday, 444 new cases of the virus were identified within the community, down from 1,166 two weeks earlier.
And the Reproductive number, or 'R' number-- the average number of people that a person infected with Covid-19 will pass the virus on to-- has dropped below one.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly addressed the Oireachtas yesterday where he explained the drop in the number means that the virus is declining.
This is because of lockdown measures, which prevents a person infected with Covid-19 from passing it on to others as everyone is asked to stay at home.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan urged people to stick to the lockdown rules as they are clearly working.
"Every piece of public health advice we have given from the outset of this pandemic is designed to keep everyone protected from the impact of COVID-19.
"If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you are asked to restrict your movements for 14 days and to attend for your two free COVID-19 tests, one on day 0 and one on day 7. This is because as an identified close contact, you have come into contact with the virus. It may take some time for this to become apparent, or for you to become infectious.
"By staying at home for this entire 14 day period, you are helping to stop the spread of this dangerous disease.
"In following this important guidance, you are helping to bring this virus right back down to where we all need it to be and playing your part in this national effort."