Irish Government has 'no appetite' to extend Level 5 lockdown
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Irish Government has 'no appetite' to extend Level 5 lockdown

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT does not want to extend Level Five restrictions, according to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

He stressed that the government has "no appetite" to keep the country in lockdown any longer than it needs to be, but refused to guarantee an exit from Level Five come December 1.

"There is no appetite to not exit Level Five in two weeks," he told RTE News.

"The next two weeks matters so much. I don't think with Covid, the Irish Government or any government anywhere can say 'no matter what' to anything.

"We are largely on course - the first three weeks were really good. The R number for last week was down to 0.6," he added.

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"People have made huge sacrifices. People have really got on board with Level Five. It has worked."

Minister Donnelly did however admit that some people were beginning to lose focus in the fight against coronavirus, something he down to "fatigue" following a long period of lockdown.

"What I'm saying is and what public health doctors are saying is [that] over the last week, it's clear that people have become fatigued.

"Gathering in large groups to drink outside is one symptom of that. We're seeing more traffic on the roads.

"Six weeks is a long period of time for Level Five measures. There has been an easing off in the  last week.

"Over the next two weeks, we've got to double down because we want to open up as much as possible for December."

The plan, laid out by NPHET, is for Ireland for come out of lockdown on December 1, when the country will likely drop down to Level Three restrictions, with a view to dropping to Level Two in time for Christmas.

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Though none of this is set in stone, and if case numbers do no drop significantly enough then current restrictions could well stay in place.