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Level 5 restrictions to remain in place until 5 March as ministers agree on mandatory quarantine measures

There will also be additional checks at the ports and airports.

Image: Shutterstock/abd

THE CABINET sub-committee on coronavirus has agreed that the current Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until 5 March. 

The government will also work to re-open schools incrementally, starting with special education, ministers agreed this evening. Further details are expected to be provided in an announcement from government tomorrow. 

Talks remain ongoing with unions in this regard, but it is hoped schools can return in some form in the coming weeks. More decisions regarding this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations are expected this week.

The committee also this evening signed off on mandatory quarantine for those travelling into the country without a negative PCR test, as well as passengers from “high risk areas” such as South Africa and Brazil. 

Passengers will have to pay for their own stay in quarantine hotels which are to be policed by private security firms.

Travellers will be required to pay for a Covid-19 test after five days and if they get a negative result will be permitted to leave. Those who receive a positive test will required to remain in quarantine at their own expense for up to two weeks.

Currently, passengers arriving from any country must have a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival in Ireland.

All passengers who have arrived from Great Britain, South Africa or any countries in South America are advised to self-isolate (stay in your room) for the full period of 14 days following their arrival into Ireland.

Passengers entering Ireland from all other red and grey regions, including all countries outside of the EU traffic lights system, are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days.

However this may be lifted on receipt of a negative second PCR test taken no less than 5 days after arrival.

Passengers arriving from green and orange regions (as defined by the EU traffic light system) are not requested to restrict their movements on arrival – but must present their PCR results on arrival.

Ministers have also agreed there would be more garda checks at airports. They also did not rule out going further with the restrictions in the future.

Breaches of these regulations will result in a fine of up to €2,500 and/or up to six months’ imprisonment. Sources said it will take time to implement this system for operational and legal reasons. 

The Cabinet sub-committee was attended by Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, other senior ministers and members of NPHET this evening.

The decisions reached this evening will have to be signed off on by a full Cabinet meeting tomorrow. Announcements are then expected in the afternoon. 

Northern Ireland’s lockdown was also extended to 5 March last week, meaning the two jurisdictions on the island will have similar restrictions until at least that date. 

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin said over the weekend that the additional restrictions on travel are to act as a deterrent to people who are thinking of travelling for non-essential reasons.

With reporting from Sean Murray

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