Published: Sat, January 30, 2021
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Level 5 Lockdown Will Continue For Next 6 Weeks

Level 5 Lockdown Will Continue For Next 6 Weeks

The government has also made a decision to suspend all visa-free short-term travel from South Africa, Brazil and other South American countries until March 5 in order to mitigate the risk of new COVID-19 variants coming into the country, he noted.

The enforced two-week confinement will also apply to anyone travelling from South Africa and Brazil regardless of whether they have a negative test or not.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that current Level 5 restrictions will be extended until March 5.

. A ban on holiday and short-term visas was also agreed.

After a period of five days, travellers will have to pay for a COVID-19 test, they will be granted permission to leave after five days if they receive a negative test. Individuals that test positive will have to remain in quarantine at their own cost for a period of two weeks, at least.

In most cases arrivals will have to quarantine at home but "it will be mandatory, not advisory for the first time" since the government started enacting pandemic restrictions, Varadkar said.

Martin also said police would step up checkpoints near ports and airports to enforce an ongoing five-kilometre (three-mile) limit on non-essential travel.

Mr Martin this morning said that while case numbers are "going in the right direction", a longer lockdown is needed to drive down rates of infection.

Ms McDonald said the "biggest mess" from the Government's announcement was its proposals on global travel, which she said "not only goes against public health advice, it goes against common sense".

© MAXWELLS-IRISH GOVERNMENT POOL/AFP via Getty Images Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin (R) talks with outgoing Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar (L) inside the Convention Centre Dublin during the 33rd sitting of the new Dail for the election of the new prime minister (Taoiseach) in Dublin on June 27, 2020.

The State would need to identify quarantine hotels, train staff, and coordinate with the European Union, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Executive, he said.

However, speaking at a briefing announcing the new travel restrictions, the Taoiseach and Tánaiste held that travel was responsible for no more than a small proportion of Covid-19 cases in the Republic.

The legal requirement will also apply to anyone who arrives in the Republic via Northern Ireland. He said that the current restrictions are having an impact, however hospitals are under severe pressure and this needs to be eased.

It comes as the number of patients in hospital with Covid-19 remains high, with more than double the number compared with the first wave past year.

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