NPHET advises new Level 5 lockdown; pubs and restaurants expected to close on Christmas Eve
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NPHET advises new Level 5 lockdown; pubs and restaurants expected to close on Christmas Eve

A SUB-COMMITTEE will today recommend that hospitality venues will close on Christmas Eve as coronavirus cases rise and fear grows about a new variant of the disease.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended to the Government that Ireland should enter Level 5 restrictions after Christmas in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, which has again spiked in the country.

According to The Irish Times, a letter sent from CMO Dr Tony Holohan to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly states that the situation in Ireland is gravely concerning, and a return to the most severe restrictions is necessary to prevent virus from spreading out of control.

Modelling by top epidemiologists estimates that Ireland could see between 1,300 - 1,800 cases daily by early January should stricter measures not be put in place.

RTÉ News reports that a Cabinet sub-committee has rejected the call for a full Level 5 lockdown, but have agreed on a series of tighter measures, including all hospitality, such as restaurants and pubs which serve food, closing in mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve.

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Cinemas, theatres and close contact services such as hairdressers are also expected to close on Christmas Eve, and the sub-Committee have also agreed on an extension of the Britain- Ireland travel ban until at least 31 December.

Some non-essential services such as gyms and certain non-essential retail outlets may be allowed to remain open, the national broadcaster reports, and an agreement on household visitations has yet to be reached.

The Government will meet this morning regarding these recommendations, and are expected to make an announcement on their decision later today.