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Coronavirus: 13 additional deaths and 371 new cases as decision pending on latest easing of restrictions

There have been a further 13 Coronavirus-related deaths and 371 new cases announced this evening.

Once again fewer than five of the cases announced are in Laois, meaning the county’s 14-day incidence rate drops to 87.4 compared to the national average of 121.2.

Today’s figures come ahead of a Government decision on what measures will be next to be relaxed in the coming weeks.

The Government are set to examine allowing outdoor hospitality to resume at the end of May, the scrapping of the “substantial meal” €9 meal rule for pubs and a late May reopening for personal services including hairdressers and barbers.

According to the Irish Times, senior sources said they are “hopeful” that outdoor dining could reopen somewhere in the week of May 24th but it is subject to agreement by cabinet.

It’s understood a phased approach similar to April is being considered for next month, with activities seen as having higher levels of risk likely to resume in the second half of the month.

This would also see non-contact training for adult sports teams potentially restarting towards the end of May. The resumption of driving tests is also said to be under consideration.

There is also hope of delivering further “vaccine bonuses” to those who have been immunised, although the pace of change here is likely to be largely determined by advice currently being worked on by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

One potential avenue would be for increased levels of household mixing involving vaccinated people.

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