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Public health experts must justify any proposed restrictions for Dublin if they're more 'drastic' than other EU cities

Ireland needs to look to other EU countries and how they are handling spikes, says Tánaiste.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said public health experts will have to justify any further restrictions it may propose for Dublin or Limerick that are more “drastic” than are in place in other European cities.

Government is concerned about the rise in cases in Dublin and Limerick, however they are also taking into account that the number of deaths, and patients in ICU and hospital, remain low.

“If there is a change in the situation between now and then it won’t just affect pubs, it will affect all businesses,” a government spokesperson said yesterday when asked about the possibility of localised restrictions.

A further 307 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland yesterday.

The Department of Health also reported one further death associated with the disease. The death occurred in September. The numbers in hospital and ICU remain low.

Speaking to reporters in Government Buildings today, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin “no specific decision has been made in relation to those counties right now”.

“Whatever does happen or may happen in Dublin or Limerick, we need to look at what else is happening in other parts of EU,” said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar today.

The rate in Belfast is higher than Dublin – 100 per 100,000 – and many capitals in Europe are seeing a very high incidence of Covid at the moment, he said.

“And if there are any proposals to do anything more drastic in Dublin or Limerick than is being done in those places, as a citizen and resident of Dublin and as minister responsible for business and employment, I would want a very good justification for that from the public health people as to why we would do anything more drastic in Dublin or in Limerick than is being done in other cities around Europe that may have a higher incidence than we have,” said Varadkar.

The Covid sub-Cabinet committee will meet tomorrow where the Taoiseach said the situation will be discussed in “great detail”. The Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn will also attend that meeting.

Varadkar said no specific recommendations have been given to government yet, and none have been discussed by Cabinet. 

However, he said the localised measures in Glasgow, Scotland or something similar might be considered. 

He said Glasgow “cracked down on gatherings in the home” in order to keep business, shops and childcare open. However, he has not seen evidence that it has worked, as of yet.

The Taoiseach also confirmed the government’s new roadmap which will outline the country’s strategy for living with the virus for the next six months or so, will be published on Tuesday.

He said it will give an overall context of how to manage incidences and sectors of society.

He said lessons were learned from Kildare, Laois and Offally, but added that it doesn’t necessarily mean the same response would be rolled out again. 

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The Tánaiste said the rate in Dublin is lower than that of Kildare when a localised lockdown was imposed.

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