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Taoiseach doesn't know what NPHET will recommend, but says roadmap allows for graduated level increases

Micheál Martin says NPHET were part of the team who drew up the roadmap which allows for county-wide measures also.
Oct 8th 2020, 3:37 PM 30,968 63

TAOISACH MICHEÁL MARTIN says he has no indication what the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will recommend for the country after their meeting today.

However, speaking at Farmleigh House in Dublin, he said “we have a graduated plan as a country”, which allows for levels to be increased and decreased in a stepwise manner. 

On Sunday, the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan recommended the country be placed in the most serious phase – Level 5.

However, the government rejected the advice on Monday, with the entire country instead being placed in Level 3. 

Giving rise to speculation that the chief medical officer could again recommend Level 5 today, Holohan said yesterday the situation has become more serious than it was on Sunday, stating that he is more worried about the case numbers now than he was last week. 

Government want to maintain graduated increases to levels

The Taoiseach hinted today that a such a recommendation might not be on the cards, stating the government want to maintain the stepwise approach.

“I don’t have an indication of what NPHET will decide today. I don’t ordinarily interfere in its deliberations. NPHET is a body that meets and adjudicates.

“But we have a graduated plan as a country. We worked with NPHET in relation to the formulation of the strategy to live with COVID-19, which involves moving to different levels on a graduated basis. Why did we decide to do that? Because we wanted to give the people out there have some sense of expectation, of anticipation, as to what could happen if case numbers got worse.

“Therefore you would move from level two, to level three, to level four, to level five. Government does have a view that we want to maintain that graduated response.

“Also the plan is very clear that it could be county from a county if necessary. And we want to retain the flexibility in that graduated plan, in terms of a country by county approach,” he said.

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The Taoiseach he discussed such issues with the CMO and they agreed they continue to discuss and keep in touch in terms of the ongoing prevalence of the virus.

Martin said the Covid oversight committee met yesterday and there was a “very exhaustive look at each sector, in terms of enforcement adherence to guidelines, upping the intensity around making sure that we can make Level 3 work.

“Making Level 3 work means we avoid Level 4 and Level 5,” he added. 

Each of those levels have “serious consequences for the economy, for jobs”, he said. 

“We take the implications of moving to Level 4 and Level 5 very seriously as a government. We have to take the wider situation into account,” he said.

“I think the days of saying, we got an advice on Sunday, we’re going to do that tonight or Monday night. People need a bit more preparation,” he said.

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Christina Finn

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