Cabinet Agrees To Extend Lockdown Until April 5th

26 Février, 2021, 14:06 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Taoiseach Micheal Martin during a joint press conference at Government Buildings in Dublin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin says over 80% of adults will have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by the end of June.

Prior to Mr Martin's address to the nation, AstraZeneca said it will deliver half of the expected delivery of vaccine doses to the European Union in the second quarter of the year.

If vaccine imports arrive as scheduled, 1 million doses of the vaccine will be offered per month in April, May, and June.

By May, up to 64% would have their first dose, and by June, 82% of adults would have their first dose, and 55%-60% would be fully vaccinated.

This will include utilising small local GP surgeries and pharmacists, and community and regional vaccination centres.

Noting the emergence of the so-called United Kingdom, or B-117 variant, the Taoiseach said the country is in a very different place from where it was just a few months ago.

He also said that we are now in a position to "majorly" ramp up the vaccination rollout across the country, saying 1.25 million doses will have been administered by the end of March. The country will remain in Level 5 until this time and then restrictions will be reassessed depending on community transmission, ICU numbers, and the vaccination programme.

But the Taoiseach will provide dates for the phased re-opening of schools and childcare services starting next week.

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The reopening of childcare starts from March 8 as well as the resumption of some non-Covid related health services.

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"In advance of the fifth of April, we will review the situation", the Taoiseach said, adding that "it is critically important that we do not let our guard down".

He said the emergence of the B117 strain of covid-19 "has changed the dynamic significantly and we need to be very careful as we take the next steps forward".

However, the Government will first examine whether it's safe to ease restrictions such as those on outdoor gatherings, sporting activity, construction and the 5km travel limit.

In his address Mr Martin said the Government is anxious to ensure that things remain open whenever restrictions are eased. It is why if you are now working from home, you must continue to do so.

Rival parties have criticised the Government for not publishing a detailed plan to exit lockdown safely.

The Taoiseach said it would be "disingenuous" to give specific timelines for the wider reopening of society.

Mr Martin said the rate of infection is steadily decreasing, but the United Kingdom variant - now by far the dominant strain here - is nearly "equivalent to a new virus".

More detailed announcements will follow on April 5, he added.

575 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Ireland today with 45 more deaths.

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