July 18, 2024

COVID-19: Government to extend lockdown for another two weeks – report

The Government is set to announce an extension of the tough Covid-19 restrictions on households and businesses.

There may be a partial lifting of the current strict regime that forbids non-essential travel within 2km of the home by next month. But this will only happen if the rate of infections continues to fall, The Irish Times reports this morning.

According to the report, the restrictions will place for at least the next two weeks, up until the May bank holiday weekend.

The move is set to be announced this evening after a meeting of senior public health officials.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is expected to sign an extension of the Garda powers to enforce the lockdown.

Senior government officials have begun to work on plans for a ‘phased’ exit from the lockdown.

However, any easing of restrictions comes is likely to be partial and gradual.

Priorities are expected to include reopening some retail businesses, construction and schools.

Meanwhile, gardai were out in force yesterday as thousands took to the roads ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend despite repeated appeals not to travel.

Under the emergency legislation anyone travelling for non-essential reasons or exercising farther than 2km from home will be committing an offence.

Yesterday it was confirmed that 28 more people had died from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 263.

The number of confirmed cases in the State increased by 500, the highest increase in a single day to date and now stands at 6,574.

Although the number of known cases rose sharply, data compiled for the Department of Health shows the rate of growth is beginning to slow. While new cases were growing at a rate of 33% at the beginning of the outbreak, that has now slowed to 9%.

There has also been a significant decline in the infection rate – the number of infections caused by people infected with the virus.

At the beginning of the outbreak each case was responsible for 4.5 infections; this had now been reduced to about one person, said Prof Philip Nolan, chairman of the National Public Health Emergency Team’s epidemiological modelling group.


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