Cabinet agrees nationwide ban on visits to households and move to Level 4 for Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal

The Cabinet has agreed a nationwide ban on visits to households in almost all circumstances.

It has also agreed a move for Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal to Level 4 of the Government’s Living with Covid plan. The institution of Level 4 in the three counties would be put in place until November 10th.

Under Level 4, no visitors are permitted to homes and indoor gatherings and events are banned, wet pubs are allowed to remain open, but limited to a maximum of 15 people, and only outdoors. Public transport reduces to 25 per cent capacity and the recommendation is that it is avoided, and used only for essential workers or essential purposes.

Under the Living with Covid plan, Level 3 allows for “visitors from one other household only or own household only”, with the precise guideline to be determined by “prevailing public health advice for the county or other defined geographical area”. A memo brought to the Cabinet this evening recommends that the steps be taken in the three counties amid concerns about rising numbers of infection in the Border region and Northern Ireland, which instituted a period of restrictions earlier today in an effort to arrest the growth of the virus there.

Earlier on Wednesday, public health sources expressed concern not only about the high level of infection in the border counties, but around the entire country. In particular, the level of household transmission remains stubbornly high despite level three being in place nationally.

While there is evidence that the level of transmission in Dublin is being impacted by Level 3, it is not falling as quickly as public health officials would like. Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, along with his deputy Dr Ronan Glynn, met the oversight group led by Martin Fraser on Wednesday before theCcabinet meeting was agreed.

With the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) set to meet tomorrow, it was expected that escalated measures would be recommended.

There were 1,095 new cases and five further deaths reported in the State Nphet on Wednesday.

The 14 day incidence rate per 100,000 is 190.7 nationally, according to Nphet. The highest rates are in Cavan at 571 per 100,000, Monaghan 360 per 100,000 and Donegal at 353.7 per 100,000. Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan described the situation as “extremely concerning.”