What time will Taoiseach Micheal Martin make announcement on lockdown decision?

Taoiseach Micheal Martin is set to address the nation this evening with a major decision on Ireland’s Level Five lockdown. He will be jo...


Taoiseach Micheal Martin is set to address the nation this evening with a major decision on Ireland’s Level Five lockdown.

He will be joined by fellow Government leaders Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Eamon Ryan after a meeting of Cabinet.

Ministers are currently discussing the next steps as the country battles to suppress a devastating third wave of coronavirus infections.

And the Taoiseach confirmed this morning that we are set to remain under the strict Level Five measures until at least March 5.



Taoiseach Micheal Martin delivering an address to the nation on the latest update to lockdown restrictions at the Government Buildings, Dublin.

A final decision is set to be announced in the coming hours.

Here is everything you need to know:

What time is the announcement?

Taoiseach Micheal Martin is due to speak at 4pm. You can follow all the latest on our live blog HERE.

What is he set to announce?

The Government will today move to extend current lockdown restrictions until March 5 in a bid to get the pandemic under control – with amped-up rules for travel amid fears over those coming into the country.

The Cabinet’s Covid subcommittee – which consists of the most senior ministers in Government – last night approved a slew of new measures that will be discussed by the Government today.

It’s hard to see the Cabinet objecting to any of the measures, given they’ve been well trailed in the media by now, so it’s pretty safe to assume we know what’s coming down the tracks over the next six weeks.

Level Five has been pushed out until at least the start of March – meaning there’s no reprieve for pubs, restaurants or non-essential retail, and intercounty travel is still prohibited.

And there are strict new rules for those travelling in and out of the country, with mandatory hotel quarantine for those who arrive in Ireland without a negative Covid-19 test.

Here’s all you need to know about how yesterday’s discussions affect the situation facing Ireland over the next six weeks.

Hospitality

If there’s light at the end of the tunnel for the hospitality sector, it’s difficult to make it out amid the gloom right now.

We didn’t expect anything else, but it will still have come as a blow to the sector that its reopening is not on the immediate agenda of the country’s decision-makers.

The Tanaiste said last night that case numbers – which have begun to fall in recent weeks – are “still nowhere near low enough” for the Government to consider any sort of meaningful reopening of the country.

So May or June is still the best hope for pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Shopping

Under Level Five, non-essential retail – almost all shopping except for groceries and medical supplies – is not allowed.

And that’s the situation facing clothes shops around the country – as well as many other stores and salons, who won’t be reopening their doors until at least mid-spring.

Intercounty travel

Unsurprisingly, there’s no end in sight when it comes to the ban on travel between counties. Only those on the move for an essential purpose are allowed to travel – and with a heavy Garda presence on the roads, it’s clear the Government is serious about keeping people within 5km of their homes.

Officers have already issued around 1,500 fines to people breaking the travel rules over the last fortnight – prompting deputy commissioner John Twomey to warn: “At a time when significant numbers of people are dying or seriously ill we all need to do all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Foreign travel

The major development from last night’s subcommittee meeting was the new rules around foreign travel – for those coming as well as going.

Now, anyone who arrives into the country without a negative PCR test – a long-standing requirement – will be forced into mandatory quarantine in a hotel, at their own expense.

If they receive a negative PCR test five days after arriving, they can then leave their enforced quarantine – but those who test positive have to stay in their hotel room and pay for it themselves.

And all passengers arriving in from the UK, South Africa and Brazil are being advised to stay in their room for 14 days after their plane lands.



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Newsrust: What time will Taoiseach Micheal Martin make announcement on lockdown decision?
What time will Taoiseach Micheal Martin make announcement on lockdown decision?
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