Dublin could move to level three Covid-19 risk level in coming days
There is a “strong possibility” severe restrictions could be enforced in Dublin by the end of the week, according to a Republic of Ireland government minister.
Paschal Donohoe warned the capital could move to level three of the Irish government’s new blueprint plan to deal with Covid-19, which was unveiled on Tuesday.
New public health measures for Dublin came into effect at midnight, however the Minister for Finance said that guidance could change again by the end of the week.
Every county in Ireland has been given a status two risk level.
The Irish government has been accused of giving confusing and contradictory advice about Dublin, after some ministers gave conflicting messages about the new measures.
The blueprint has been criticised by opposition parties, with Labour leader Alan Kelly saying the proclaimed five-point plan is actually a “five-and-a-half point plan”.
Mr Donohoe said experts will meet on Thursday to discuss Dublin and provide advice to the Government.
Asked if Dublin could move to level three in the coming days, he told RTE Morning Ireland: “There’s a strong possibility that could happen.
“Our medical and public health experts will supply guidance to Government on this issue, that would then be considered by the Government, it will be consistent with the framework that we published and then we’ll make a recommendation and a decision on this to the people of Dublin.
“I think it is fair to say it is a very real possibility that guidance could change further for Dublin but the reason why we have issued this additional guidance for Dublin, on top of the level two guidance, is to see what can be done to continue to keep those who live and those who work in Dublin as safe as possible.”
He said there are five additional measures for the capital which do not apply to the rest of the country.
He added: “There are three that are very important in particular.
“The first one is that we are asking those who are living within Dublin don’t, if at all possible, travel outside of the city and county of Dublin, and we’re asking them to obey that guidance because of our great concern about the health of those who live in Dublin and what it could mean in the city.”
He also said he would advise people against travelling outside of Dublin to attend a wedding.
“The reason why I would do that is, I absolutely understand how important and life changing and how so important a good wedding and a nice wedding day is, I absolutely appreciate that,” he continued.
“But a wedding ceremony is meant to be about sharing hope for a better future, getting family together to celebrate a wonderful day, and I’d ask all to consider how we would feel about a wedding if we then found out in a number of days or weeks time, that the wedding turned into a place in which a disease was spread.”
It was confirmed on Tuesday night that the Republic's Health Minister Stephen Donnelly tested negative for Covid-19.
Mr Donnelly reported feeling unwell earlier on Tuesday and announced he was being tested for the virus.
This resulted in other members of the Cabinet restricting their movements as a precaution.