Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Cabinet unlikely to give green light to Level 5 move but some measures inevitable - national media reports

A move to Level 5 would leave over half a million workers dependent on PUP payments again while placing the future of many businesses in jeopardy.

Those are among the stark factors under consideration by senior government leaders today when they consider a second recommendation by NPHET for a six-week Level 5 lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

That recommendation will not apply to schools.

But The Irish Times is reporting this morning that the schools would inevitably close "because teachers’ unions would not countenance their members being exposed to the risks of working when most other people are being told to stay at home."

The newspaper is also reporting that there is significant reluctance at the highest level of government to move to Level 5 immediately.

It revealed sources close to the top of government saying the new restrictions introduced recently have not been given a chance to work.

The Irish Independent is reporting that ministers want to reject NPHET’s advice - but they accept more measures will have to be introduced to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the coming weeks.

The newspaper reports there is a growing belief that Cabinet will again shoot down NPHET's call for the highest level of Covid-19 regulations - and instead introduce Level 4 restrictions.

However, senior figures in the two main government parties are reported as saying it is inevitable "countrywide near-lockdown restrictions will be introduced in the coming days."

Ministers are eager to stick to the Living with Covid-19 plan, which allows for a step-by-step approach to introducing new rules.

This would mean moving to Level 4 before Level 5, the Irish Independent added.

The government has issued a statement tonight following meetings between the leaders of the three parties, other Ministers and The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan and Deputy CMO, Dr Ronan Glynn.

Here is the statement in full:

Earlier today the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan, Deputy CMO Dr. Ronan Glynn, and Professor Philip Nolan gave a detailed presentation to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Minister Ryan, Minister Donohoe, Minister McGrath and Minister Donnelly on the latest data relating to Covid-19 in Ireland.

The CMO gave an analysis of the virus in each region of the country and Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid gave an assessment of current hospital response capacity, and an update on the test and trace system, which the HSE is continuing to expand.

Presentations were also given on the economic, employment and society wide implications of moving to more severe restrictions.

Other significant issues were also discussed such as mental health and domestic violence.

Fundamental to the discussions was the overarching aim of protecting lives and livelihoods.

The health team briefed Ministers that children were safer in schools, transmission rates are low, and that the continued opening of schools is very important to the development and wellbeing of children and young people.

The Cabinet will meet on Monday to consider the matter further

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