Public health experts considered idea of moving Dublin to Level 4

Public health experts considered idea of moving Dublin to Level 4

The idea of moving Dublin to Level 4 of the five-level plan to tackle the rise of Covid-19 cases in the capital was backed by some members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) at their meeting this week.

But some members were concerned Government would not agree to such a dramatic move, which was supported by a minority of the team on Thursday, and instead recommended a move to Level 3 with added restrictions, as announced last night.

Concerns were privately expressed that recommending a higher level of restrictions could cause discord between NPHET and the Government, leading to mixed messages and undermining public health efforts to fight the virus.

Members of the group believe they may have to recommend an escalation to Level 4 in Dublin in two to three weeks, should infections continue to increase – a move that would see the closure of all but essential retail outlets with only essential workers allowed to travel to workplaces.

Concerns

There was also a discussion by NPHET that the whole country should be moved to Level 3 along with Dublin, but concerns were expressed that this would dilute the message requiring targeted public actions in the capital.

If infection rates continue to grow significantly, the group may recommend a nationwide move to Level 3 next week, it is understood.

Last night, Government announced the toughest restrictions since the lockdown earlier this year, infuriating restaurant and bar owners in Dublin, many of whom say they are facing immediate closure.

In a televised address from Government Buildings, Taoiseach Micheál Martin warned that Dublin is at a “very dangerous place” and, without action, could quickly return to the worst days of the crisis.

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