May 28, 2023

LATEST: Three more deaths and 357 new cases of virus, drama as entire Cabinet to self-isolate and Dáil adjourned

Three more people have died after contracting the coronavirus related deaths as 357 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed this evening.

It brings the overall death toll as a result of the virus to 1,787. There are now 31,549 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the country.

Kilkenny is among the counties to record new infections, according to the latest daily briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The breakdown of the latest cases are as follows: 218 in Dublin, 18 in Louth, 12 in Waterford, 11 in Kildare, 9 in Cork, 8 in Kerry, 8 in Limerick, 8 in Meath, 7 in Westmeath, 6 in Wicklow, 5 in Offaly, 5 in Roscommon, 5 in Mayo, 5 in Tipperary with the remaining 32 cases are located in Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Galway, Kilkenny, Laois, Leitrim, Monaghan, Sligo and Wexford.

The latest cases were confirmed as it emerged this evening that the entire Cabinet has to self-isolate and the Dáil has been adjourned.

It comes after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly felt unwell this afternoon and contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test.

Mr Donnelly took part in a press conference this morning announcing the Government’s Covid-19 plan for the next six months.

The Ceann Comhairle told the Dáil that after “very serious information arising out of events today the Cabinet must now self isolate”.

The drama unfolded after the Government published its medium-term plan for ‘Living with Covid’ earlier today.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said protecting public health remains an absolute priority. He said: “Each of us has a personal responsibility to try and limit its spread.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told a press briefing: “We were in this together, now we can get through this together.”

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the new measures will come into effect from midnight. However, the reopening of pubs will not happen until September 21.

The Government’s plan will remain in place the next six to nine months as it is not certain if there will be any progress in a vaccine during this time.

The ‘framework for restrictive measures’ consists of five levels. The lower levels will be activated when there is low incidence of the disease, with isolated outbreaks, low community transmission. The higher levels will be used to deal with higher incidences of the disease.

Level 1
This involves the least amount of restrictions.
It does not apply to anywhere at present as the whole country is currently onLevel 2. Level 1 will allow up to 10 visitors from up to three households to your house. Up to 100 people will be able to attend weddings and organised indoor gatherings (eg: business meetings). Up to 500 people wil be able to attend outdoor venues with a minimum accredited capacity of 5,000 with a maximum of 200 patrons allowed in most other outdoor venues. Nightclubs, discos and casinos will remain closed under Level 1.

Level 2
This applies to the entire country at present, with some exceptions for Dublin. Visitors from one other household only or up to six visitors from two to three other households are allowed in your home. Current restrictions in terms if wedding and sporting events remain the same under Level 2.

Level 3
Restrictions will limit visitors to your home to one other household only (this has been introduced in Dublin). No social or family gatherings should take place in other settings. Weddings will be limited to 25 while outdoor gatherings will be capped at 15. Sports training can continue but no matches will be allowed. All museums and galleries will be closed. Restaurants will be able to remain open for indoor dining – albeit with some added restrictions. Travel-wise, people are asked to stay in your county apart from work, education and other essential purposes.

Level 4
Keeping schools and childcare services open will remain a priority. No visitors will be allowed to your home and weddings will be limited to six people. Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools will be closed and in-person religious services cancelled. Funerals will have a cap of 25 mourners. There will be no indoor dining allowed and pubs will only be allowed to serve 15 customers outdoors.

Level 5
Similar to Level 4, but with domestic travel restrictions in place. People will be advised to stay at home and only exercise within 5km of where they live. However, schools and creches can remain open with protective measures in place.

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