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Crunch time Simon Donnelly says Ireland is in a 'serious situation' as Covid-19 cases rise

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Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD. Photo by:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD. Photo by:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD. Photo by:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said the country is in a very serious situation. 

Speaking on his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning, Minister Donnelly said public health doctors, and infectious disease doctors are deeply concerned about how quickly the virus has spread in the last two weeks.

“And they're deeply concerned about the variant,” he added. "The Chief Medical Officer wrote to me yesterday... he recommended we move to level five."

Today's Cabinet meeting comes after 727 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday.

Restaurants and pubs are likely to be told to close from Christmas Eve under proposals being considered at the meeting.

The ban on flights from the UK is also expected to be extended until the end of the year.

Last night, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan set out a stark picture of rising case numbers, as well as fears over the new strain of the virus emerging from the UK.

He told them Level 5 restrictions will be needed at some point after Christmas.

Following that meeting, a number of recommendations are going to Cabinet which is set to increase Covid-19 restrictions - but reject the recommendation to go to Level 5.

According to RTE News, they are expected to reject the Chief Medical Officer's suggestion of the country moving to Level 5.

It is understood that the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 has already agreed on measures last night - including the closure of bars and restaurants from New Year's.

The Government are also creating a new financial support scheme to help businesses through the latest lockdown.

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