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'We must see this through': Taoiseach urges people to keep adhering to Level 5 restrictions

The Taoiseach issued a statement today marking the mid-way point of Level 5 restrictions currently in place.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin
Taoiseach Micheal Martin
Image: Tom Honan via RollingNews.ie

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has appealed to the nation to adhere to Level 5 restrictions for the next three weeks. 

In a statement marking the mid-point of Level 5 restrictions, which kicked in on 22 October, Martin said data suggests that the efforts in place are working. 

“Now that we have reached the mid-point of the enhanced Level 5 restrictions, I would like to pay tribute to the great national effort that is underway to suppress the virus and bring down the rate of infection across all communities,” Martin said. 

Health officials yesterday evening confirmed 395 further cases of Covid-19 and one more death. 

A total of 362 new cases were confirmed on Wednesday and 270 new cases were confirmed on Tuesday

That is a total of 1,027 cases compared to 1,357 cases over the same period last week and 2,261 cases the week previously. 

Ireland’s reproductive number last week was estimated at between 0.7 and 0.9 having been at around 1 the previous week. It has since fallen further to 0.6. 

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said a reproductive number of 0.5 over a sustained period would be a sufficient level of transmission to move out of strict restrictions.  

In his statement, the Taoiseach said “we are one of the leaders in Europe in terms of our progress in pushing back the virus”. 

However, he added that “we must see this through”. 

“By continuing to drive down the incidence of the disease, we give ourselves the best chance to reopen parts of our society and to enjoy a meaningful Christmas,” he said. 

Martin’s statement comes as Dr Holohan yesterday said people should regard travel home for Christmas as non-essential. 

The CMO said he agreed with comments made earlier in the day by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that it is “too soon” for people to book flights home to Ireland for Christmas. 

Dr Holohan said health officials are “concerned about the picture in other countries relative to where we are here”.

“Unfortunately many other countries in Europe are still in a deteriorating situation,” he said, adding that many of the countries people would be travelling back from for Christmas have much higher levels of infection.

Frontline workers

In his statement today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin also paid tribute to Ireland’s frontline workers and young people. 

“Our frontline workers continue to be an inspiration in terms of their courage and commitment,” Martin said. 

“I would like to pay particular tribute to our young people for the successful suppression of their virus among their age group,” he said. 

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“They are missing out on a lot, but their time will come and they should take great pride in the effort they are making to protect the more vulnerable in our society,” the Taoiseach added. 

Martin said he is “acutely conscious of how difficult the current restrictions are for everyone, and the very heavy price being paid by many sectors of our economy”. 

“However, I also know that the effort we are making now, together as a nation, is saving lives and will allow us to reopen our society and our economy safely and sustainably into the future.” 

With reporting by Cónal Thomas

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