Ireland faces a return to a strict nationwide lockdown after the country’s health chiefs recommended a dramatic tightening of restrictions in response to surging coronavirus cases.
The Irish chief medical officer and National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) called for the nation to enter Level 5 – the most severe in the government’s coronavirus plan – after recording its highest number of daily cases since late April on Saturday. Under a Level 5, the public would be asked to stay within three miles of their homes. Non-essential shops would close, but schools would remain open. One proposal is the country would remain under the strict lockdown measures for a period of four weeks.
The leaders of Ireland’s three coalition parties are to meet with chief medical officer Dr Tony Holahan on Monday to discuss the next steps.
Most of Ireland is currently at Level 2, while Dublin and Donegal are on Level 3. The call for enhanced restrictions was in part prompted by a fear that the country is on course to see up to 2,000 cases a day by November, with intensive care units at risk of being overstretched if stricter measures are not adopted.