Covid-19: Possible extra restrictions for four counties to be decided by weekend

Health workers who used holidays to look after children set to be given leave back

HSE chief Paul Reid issued a ‘call to arms’ to the public on Sunday, saying 110 patients were in hospital with coronavirus, including 18 in intensive care. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

HSE chief Paul Reid issued a ‘call to arms’ to the public on Sunday, saying 110 patients were in hospital with coronavirus, including 18 in intensive care. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

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The Government is expected to decide at the end of the week whether additional restrictions are required across four more counties after a spike in Covid-19 cases on Sunday night.

A further 430 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the State, the most cases in a day since 701 cases were reported on April 26th, while no additional deaths were reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

Senior Government sources have described the figures as “very worrying” and have expressed concerns about the growing pressure on capacity in the health service.

Health Service Executive chief executive Paul Reid issued a “call to arms” to the public on Sunday, saying 110 patients were in hospital with coronavirus, including 18 in intensive care. Mr Reid said the current level of pressure on the health service was as significant as it was during the worst peak of Covid-19, as “we’re now trying to keep all of our other services running too”.

Dublin in October

Government figures said while there were currently no NPHET meetings planned until Thursday, it was “too early to call” whether or not restrictions would be eased in Dublin in October. Donegal is also at Level 3 on the Government’s plan for living with Covid-19.

In terms of additional restrictions for other counties, public health teams are closely monitoring the situation in Cork, Wicklow, Galway and Louth.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will on Monday launch a new leaflet to be distributed to two million households, as the Government attempts to push the message that there is “no time for complacency”.

Meanwhile, nurses and health workers who had to use their holidays to look after children when schools and creches closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic seem set to be given this leave back.

Holiday measure

The Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation told its members over the weekend that health service management had agreed, in principle, to the new measure, although the detail on how such a scheme would work in practice was still being worked out.

The number of workers who may benefit from the new initiative is not known, but some sources suggested it could potentially run into the thousands.

Separately, the travel “green list” will change from Monday.

The countries on the updated list are Cyprus, Latvia, Finland and Liechtenstein. Germany, Poland, Iceland and Lithuania are no longer on the list.

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