Covid warning January lockdown a real possibility says Foreign Minister Simon Coveney
A third lockdown in January could be on the cards if Ireland fails to get the virus under control for Christmas.
Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has warned that further restrictions could be put in place at the start of the new Year, if Covid 19 runs rampant in December.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister Coveney said that it was simply "too soon" to give advice to the ex-pat Irish community desperate to fly home for Christmas.
And he warned that should Covid 19 make a resurgence in the middle of the festive period, lockdown could be on the way for the start of 2021.
“We are asking people at the moment, under Level 5 restrictions, not to move around, not to move between counties, and not to move outside a 5km radius of their homes,” he said.
“In other words, we are asking people to stay at home and not move around.
“Level 5 restrictions will end, I hope, at the start of December, but it is too early to give advice to people at this stage.
“We are going to have to see how successful the Level 5 restrictions have been.
“As we have been reminded by the CMO, in the last five days that progress has stalled somewhat in terms of the numbers.
“So we need to refocus to make sure that the next two weeks are as impactful as it possibly can be to get the numbers down.
“We will then be in a much more informed place in terms of the advice we give people in the run up to Christmas."
While the Minister hopes that restrictions will be lifted, he then warned that a surge in the virus over the Christmas period, could lead to the country facing a third shut down.
"We need to be cautious here because what we don’t want is to be facing a third lockdown or imposition of tight restrictions in January because we have allowed the virus to spread significantly over the Christmas period.
“So everyone wants to be in a place in two weeks' time when we can look forward to a Christmas that is as positive as it possibly can be.
“But it is just too early to give people definitive advice as to whether they should be booking flights or not.”
The Minister was also asked about the media reports suggesting that a Covid 19 vaccination could be rolled out internationally by December.
However, he downplayed these reports insisting that whenever a confirmed vaccine is announced, Ireland will be ready.
“We will start the process of rolling out a vaccine as soon as one is available,” he said.
“But I think it is important that we don’t raise expectations in terms of dates without being able to back that up.
“I am not going to give you a timeline until I have an informed view.
“What I will say is that when vaccines get approved, and I think it is a case of when rather than if, we will be ready.”