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Lockdown extension Taoiseach Micheal Martin says 'end is in sight' as he reveals up to 60% of population will be fully vaccinated by end of June

Next month, the Government will consider easing the 5km travel ban and may also allow some outdoor activities.

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Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Photo: Mark Condren

Taoiseach Micheal Martin says "the end is now truly in sight" as he made a public address on the continuation of Level 5 restrictions and the vaccine roll-out this evening.

18:13 Taoiseach says vaccine programme "will completely change the landscape."

18:12: 55%-60% of the adult population are expected to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of June and up to 82% of adults who can be vaccinated will have received at least one dose.

18:11: By the end of May, up to 64% of people will have had their first dose.

18:11: Up to 47% of people aged over 18 will have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of April.

18:10: 1.25 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines are to be administered by the end of March

18:00: Taoiseach Micheal Martin has confirmed the current public health restrictions will remain in place until 5th April 2021, when a further review will be conducted.

He also confirmed that measures to support businesses and those who are out of work due to the pandemic will be extended further with PUP, EWSS and Covid enhanced illness benefit to continue until June 30.

Mr Martin stressed the danger of the UK variant, which he warned is "a major problem".

"In a very short period, it has spread to at least 75 countries around the world and it is up to 70% more contagious than the original virus.

"Up to 90% of new infections in this country are from this new variant", he said.

The Cabinet has agreed to extend Level 5 restrictions until April 5 while also reopening schools on a phased basis.

Next month, the Government will consider easing the 5km travel ban and may also allow some outdoor activities.

However, any easing of restrictions will be dependent on public health advice.

The first four years of primary school, along with Leaving Cert students, will return to classrooms next Monday.

This will be reviewed by Nphet in two weeks and may then lead to the rest of primary school classes and fifth year secondary students return to school.

Another review of schools will be carried out on April 12 and, if there are no concerns about the spread of the virus, all other classes may then return.

Childcare will return on a phased basis on March 29 with the State’s Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) preschool scheme resuming.

Business supports and the pandemic unemployment payment will be extended until June.

After April 5, the Government will consider allowing groups of people meet outdoors and they will also examine whether people can play sports outside.

Some level of construction is also expected to resume at this stage.

The 5km travel ban will be reviewed but it is not expected it will be extended much further than the present limits.

The county travel ban will not be lifted “for some time,” according to one Government source.

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