Lockdown to last until March 5 at the earliest

The current Covid-19 lockdown is to last until March 5 at the earliest.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until that date.

His announcement came following widespread speculation across social media last night.

He told RTÉ News that even with the restrictions extended there will still be 'a significant number' of people in hospital at the end of February.

Mr Martin said that "therefore that is the really clear and motivating factor".

He said the main objective is to relieve the pressure on hospitals and intensive care units and to get the numbers of Covid-19 cases progressively down over time.

The pressures on hospitals is compounded by the numbers of staff on sick leave after contracting the virus.

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