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New restrictions to be announced later today in a merger of Level 4 and Level 5

A new range of restrictions are expected to be announced later today for the entire country for a three to four-week period.

A specially-convened cabinet meeting will take place on Monday afternoon after the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) called for the state to move to Level 5, the highest point on the alert plan, for six weeks.

They have said there is “an alarming upward trajectory of infection” with a record number of cases on each of the past two days.

In Laois, for example, the 14-day incident rate per 100,000 people is now 173.56, almost as high as it was back in April when it peaked at 183.01.

When Laois was placed in a localised lockdown with Kildare and Offaly in August, the 14-day rate was 69.66 which was then a multiple of the national average.

Currently the national incident rate is 251 per 100,000 population and it 807.3 in Cavan. On the lower end of the scale, it is at 109.1 in Tipperary.

It is expected that the Government won’t go directly to Level 5 (with the exception of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal who are on Level 4, the rest of the country is on Level 3) but will introduced more measures and for a shorter period of time than NPHET is recommending.

Elite sports, such as the inter-county GAA championship and horse racing, is hoped to be allowed to continue when it unveils a raft of new rules aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.

Schools and creches are expected to be allowed to stay open under the new restrictions however new travel restrictions may see people banned from travelling beyond 5km or 10km from their home.

Bars, restaurants, gyms, swimming pools and most shops may be asked to close.

Household visits will be banned but people will be permitted to expand their household bubble to include close family members, isolated people and those in need of care.

Under Level 4, only essential retail and businesses that are primarily outdoors can remain open. All other retail and personal services including hairdressers will be closed.

Moving from Level 3 to 4 would mean the number permitted at weddings falling from 25 to six while a move from Level 4 to 5 would mean outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 15 people ceasing.

SEE ALSO – 155 new houses coming to Laois town following An Bord Pleanála ruling


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