Ireland's New Year's Eve celebrations to be cancelled amid rise in Covid-19 cases

Ireland's New Year's Eve celebrations to be cancelled amid rise in Covid-19 cases

NEW YEAR'S EVE celebrations in Ireland are set to be scrapped following a recent surge in Covid-19 cases across the country.

On Thursday, the Government revealed that they had been advised by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to bring restrictions back quickly after Christmas to deal with the worrying situation.

Gastropubs and restaurants are now expected to close on December 28, immediately after Ireland's 'relaxation period', which starts today.

Household visits will also be limited to just one other household.

All public New Year's Eve celebrations are also expected to be cancelled, with the Government unwilling to risk any sort of large gatherings at this point.

As of today, domestic travel restrictions have been lifted, and up to three households are allowed to mix as families meet up to spend Christmas with one another, but these rules will only run until December 27 - the end of the relaxation period.

While no move into tighter restrictions has been formally agreed yet, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he was taking NPHET's latest recommendations "very seriously".

NPHET chiefs warned that the country faces an "explosion" of cases in January if we don't take adequate measures to combat the spread if the virus immediately.

Speaking on RTE's Six One News, on Thursday evening, the Taoiseach said: "NPHET will be recommending to Government that we would bring in restrictions before the end of the year.

"In other words, the anticipated [Level 3] period of going from [Friday] to January 6 would be shortened.

"NPHET will be recommending restrictions in relation to hospitality before the end of the year ... and also restricting household visits to one before the end of the year," Martin added.

"I haven't seen the full correspondence from NPHET but the CMO was anxious to give me a heads-up given his concern."