Coronavirus: Dublin restrictions on the table as new Covid-19 plan is finalised

Ministers and officials will meet today to finalise the Government’s plan on managing the Covid-19 pandemic amid warnings from public health experts that restrictions will be necessary to control high rates of infection in Dublin.

Preparation of the medium-term Living with Covid strategy continued over the weekend. Senior sources said last night there would be further amendments to the plan before it is finalised by the Covid-19 subcommittee and sent on to the Cabinet for approval and publication tomorrow.

The plan will set a five-stage framework, with level one the most relaxed environment and level five the most restricted, akin to the national lockdown introduced earlier this year. It will then set out what each level will mean for a variety of sectors.

It is expected that the Government will say that level two is appropriate for conditions at present, though there is some debate among Ministers as to whether Dublin should be elevated to level three. Several sources said new restrictions for Dublin could come this week, though no decision has yet been reached.

The capital has seen a sharp increase in cases in the past fortnight. Last night it was announced that there were 255 new cases nationally, with 156 of these in Dublin.

However, there is reluctance in Government to tighten the restrictions in the county given the large proportion of the population who would be affected and Dublin’s importance to the economy.