LOCKDOWN measures in Ireland could be eased as early as February, according to a leading immunologist.
Professor Luke O'Neill of Trinity College Dublin has predicted that Level 5 restrictions could be lifted in just over a fortnight, citing the fact that the country's positivity rate has begun to drop.
Speaking on RTÉ's Today programme, Prof. O'Neill said: "The first little green shoot that we're turning the ship around slightly is there are less contacts per person, which is fantastic.
"The positivity rate has gone down, which is great.
"That means there is a lot less infection happening at this level. We will turn the ship around. The fact that we're all staying at home means it has to stop spreading.
"It's the next seven to 10 to 14 day period that will reveal if this policy we're all following is working.
"The dreaded numbers, we watch them every night. Once that begins to fall in a few weeks' time, then the Government can examine those figures, look at some predictions and maybe slightly loosen.
"You might see, from February 1, one or two restrictions easing. They may reopen the schools at that point.
"Certainly, it will still be Level 4 'plus'."
He went on to say that if numbers continue falling, the Government could even consider moving the country into Level 3 restrictions by the end of February.