Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said the Government will act to bring in more coronavirus restrictions on Monday, with the Cabinet meeting to finalise their response to a dramatic increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and rising hospital admissions.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Mr Harris said: “The Government will act tomorrow, the action will be decisive and the action will be right across the country, it will be nationwide action.
“It’s clear now that the virus is at such a level in all our communities that a county-by-county approach will not be sufficient, so tomorrow we will have to bring in more restrictions”.
Mr Harris said that Level 3 restrictions, which are in place across the country, have “not worked in terms of getting the virus to where it needs to get to”.
He said the Government needed to balance restrictions “with our honest view on what people can bear or sustain”.
His comments come after political leaders received a briefing from health chiefs on Saturday over the surge in cases.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) recommended moving to Level 5 of the Covid-19 restrictions framework for six weeks.
Level 5 – the highest stage – would see people being asked to stay within 5km of their home, as well as bars and restaurants offering only takeaway service.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan – leaders of the coalition parties – met at Government Buildings in Dublin on Saturday.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn and epidemiologist Prof Philip Nolan briefed those present.
Discussions ended on Saturday evening.