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What measures will the Government look at easing after 5 April - and how will they make that decision?

Whether more measures are eased depends on community transmission, hospital capacity and the vaccine.
Feb 23rd 2021, 7:18 PM 25,524 27

THE TAOISEACH MICHEÁL Martin has said that current Level 5 restrictions will remain in place from 5 March until 5 April, at least.

The only sector that will have restrictions eased is schools and childcare, which will begin a phased return over the next three weeks.

By 5 April, the Taoiseach said that there are certain restrictions the Government would look at easing, if certain epidemiological targets are met. The sectors where measures could be eased next, are:

  • Outdoor gatherings, which are currently limited to exercise with one other household
  • Sporting activities, which could allow for training, the Taoiseach said
  • The gradual reopening of construction, which had been rumoured for reopening in this phase, and
  • Increasing the 5km limit on non-essential journeys.

In response to why construction won’t resume on 5 March, the Taoiseach said that it was an issue of general mobility that lead to the decision.

The Taoiseach said during his speech that “if we can maintain downward pressure on the disease and keep our numbers low, we will then move into the next phase”. 

“It’s not dates, it’s data,” he said at a briefing this evening.

What are the key indicators

The exact way Ministers will judge if there has been enough ‘downward’ pressure on the virus, or if the number of cases are low enough, were also listed by the Taoiseach today:

1. Community transmission

“We need to use the month of March to really drive down case numbers and get them as low as possible,” the Taoiseach said.

Dr Ronan Glynn said that the aim is to keep the R number, or how many cases are created from one case. 

2. Hospital and ICU occupancy

Hospital numbers need to come down further, after it and healthcare workers have been put under “truly extraordinary pressure”, the Taoiseach said.

“The hospital system should never have to experience what it experienced in the last wave,” the Taoiseach said at a press conference after his speech.

3. The vaccine programme

The Taoiseach said that the only limit to Ireland’s vaccine rollout has been supply, and said that they aimed to implement “a major ramping up of the programme” in the coming months.

By the end of March, Micheál Martin said that 1.25 million doses will have been administered, and more than 1 million doses per month will be administered during April, May, and June.

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By the end of April, up to 40% of adults will have had their first dose and by the end of May, up to 64% will have had their first dose. By the end of June, up to 82% of adults who can be vaccinated will have had at least one dose, with 55-60% fully vaccinated.'s coronavirus newsletter cuts through the misinformation and noise with the clear facts you need to make informed choices. Sign up here

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Gráinne Ní Aodha


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