IRELAND WILL remain under restrictions until at least the end of June, public health experts have warned.
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn announced at a press briefing yesterday that, in order to avoid a fourth wave of the disease, most lockdown measures are expected to remain for several months.
He was speaking no further deaths but 582 new cases of the virus were identified across the country; Ireland's cases have remained static in the mid-to-high hundreds for several weeks, and the decline in cases appear to have stopped despite Ireland being in lockdown for three months.
Dr Glynn confirmed that public health advice against non-essential travel will remain until at least the end of June, despite the EU planning to allow travel for people who have been vaccinated or can provide proof that they are not carrying the virus.
Working from home will also continue, as it has a "real and significant" effect on reducing the number of cases.
A "cautious approach" was needed, Dr Glynn said, in order to avoid another wave of the pandemic, and any easing of restrictions before the end of June will likely relate to outdoor activities.
Lockdown is due to be reviewed on 5 April, however it is extremely unlikely that there will be any significant changes made.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will publish guidelines in the coming weeks as to how older vaccinated people can meet with others safely.
Vaccines and restrictions are the only way our of the pandemic, Dr Glynn indicated.
Ireland has stopped administering the AstraZeneca vaccine while it was investigated by the EMA, but it has been declared safe.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is expected to give the green light for the roll-out of AstraZeneca vaccines later today.