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Kildare Town this afternoon as they waited for a decision to be made on their lockdown. Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews

Restrictions expected to be lifted in Laois and Offaly, but not Kildare

A decision on whether to extend the regional lockdown is expected to be made by the government later today.

TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS IN Offaly and Laois are expected to be lifted as planned this weekend but will remain in place for Kildare. 

A decision on whether to extend the regional lockdown in the counties is expected to be made by the government later today, following Cabinet’s considerations of advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). 

It’s understood that NPHET recommended that restrictions in Kildare remain in place for a period due to the higher number of cases of Covid-19 in the county. 

Residents in Kildare, Laois and Offaly were told two weeks ago that they should not leave their county in a bid to prevent transmission of Covid-19. People were asked to only undertake essential travel for two weeks, such as to attend medical appointments, for vital family reasons, for farming purposes or to travel to and from work that cannot be done from home.

The decision was made in response to a significant rise in Covid-19 cases in the three counties. The lockdown is currently due to expire at midnight on Sunday.

Speaking at last night’s NPHET briefing at the Department of Health, Dr Ronan Glynn said he would not comment on the recommendations until the government had considered them today but noted that over the last 14 days 455 cases had been reported in Kildare, 81 in Offaly and 41 in Laois.

Glynn said he recognised the regional measures had been incredibly difficult for people to accept given that it happened so quickly and it was the first local lockdown imposed here.

He said there is a “significant debt of gratitude” to be paid to people in the three counties. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Education Minister Norma Foley said that Kildare’s schools will reopen as planned next Wednesday even if the temporary restrictions are still in place.

Foley said that the department is fully focused on providing a safe environment for children and that, to date, almost €160 million has issued to schools around the country to cover minor works such as cleaning and PPE. 

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