LEVEL FIVE restrictions are expected to be extended "well into February", Fine Gael TDs have reportedly been told.
The party's deputy leader Simon Coveney allegedly told colleagues during a meeting on Wednesday evening that current restrictions are beginning to work, but will have to be extended beyond the end of the month to ensure they continue to be effective.
According to the Irish Mirror, a review of the current measures is set to take place next week.
The vast majority of restrictions are expected to be extended into next month at the very least, and it's understood that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has heavily indicated that businesses face closures until the end of the March at the earliest.
It's also understood that representatives of the hospitality industry have been told that their sector will likely remain shut until May or possibly June.
Summer holidays have also been cast into doubt, with health officials concerned about opening up Ireland's borders to the potential threat of new Covid variants.
Sources also indicate that Fine Gael TDs were furious with reports that people had been skipping the Covid-19 vaccine queue, after stories emerged of hospital staff members setting aside vaccines for their relatives.
It was suggested during the meeting that sanctions could be imposed on any queue-jumpers going forward.
Meanwhile, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) could be set to approve yet another vaccine for use, with the AstraZeneca jab on the verge of being clinically approved.
Reports suggest that approval may come as early as January 29.