Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said the danger of another nationwide lockdown is “always there”.
He said the Covid-19 restrictions reinstated last week were adopted to avoid a lockdown.
His warning comes as Ireland’s 14-day incidence of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people has risen to 31.1.
According to figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the country’s rate is higher than the UK, 22.6, Germany at 20.7 and Italy at 17.9.
New restrictions including the limiting of indoor gatherings to six and outdoor gatherings to 15 people were introduced last week, amid concern from public health officials over rising coronavirus infection rates.
Martin said: “We want to try and avoid the lockdown but the danger and challenge is always there.”
He said the new measures, recommended by NPHET, were implemented to attempt to avoid a full national lockdown.
He added: “The situation in relation to NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) – they’ve given us advice which we’ve adopted and we’ve implemented, and obviously the way the numbers are going, NPHET are constantly wary of that prospect.
“The reason we adopted the measures last week was to make sure we don’t get to that situation, but it’s fluid.”
Thousands of pupils across the country have returned to schools this week for the first time since March.
The importance of reopening of schools by the end of summer has been an issue the Taoiseach has emphasised since his appointment.
Today, he said it was great to see the work of schools in getting back open safely.
He said: “The big story this week is the reopening of our schools. A million people, between students and teachers, coming back into our schools.
“We have been visiting schools different days to see the extraordinary work of teachers, SNAs and school management.
“It’s really very good stuff to see the contribution that they have made to enable children to return to our schools.”
The Taoiseach’s word of warning over lockdown comes the day after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly stated that Ireland is at a “tipping point”.
The Minister warned that Ireland could be looking at another national lockdown if the virus is not taken seriously.
Donnelly said: “We are at tipping point, we could be looking at another national lockdown.”
The Fianna Fail TD said the country’s focus from now until Christmas is to suppress the virus and to reopen the country safely.Tags: