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Cabinet to meet on Monday to consider new Covid-19 restrictions

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at  Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

Advice: Public health experts Professor Philip Nolan, Dr Ronan Glynn and Dr Tony Holohan at Government Buildings 
Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Advice: Public health experts Professor Philip Nolan, Dr Ronan Glynn and Dr Tony Holohan at Government Buildings Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan pictured after a meeting with the Taoiseach and senior Ministers at Government buildings. Picture Credit: Frank McGrath

THE Cabinet will meet on Monday to consider new Covid-19 restrictions after the coalition leaders and senior ministers met for several hours on Saturday to consider public health advice to introduce Level 5 lockdown measures for six weeks.

The Government has not agreed to implement the measures with further deliberations and discussions to take place on Sunday and further meetings on Monday when the Cabinet will meet.

Ministers expect that some level of new restrictions will be introduced although some are resisting any additional measures.

A senior Government source said on Saturday night that among the key considerations for Ministers are the impact of new restrictions on mental health, keeping schools open, keeping the construction sector open and re-emphasising to people not to congregate.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was the first to leave Government Buildings just before 7.30pm and he is due to brief Fine Gael Ministers on Sunday morning.

Speaking on his way out of Government Buildings, Transport Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the various implications of escalating restrictions have to be considered including the impact on people's employment and mental health. He said the numbers being hospitalised and in ICUs are rising but aren't rising in such a way that "taking a day or two to consider any actions" would not be appropriate.

"We'll come back again early next week. Government will look at matters further and, in the meantime, do a lot of further work, there's a lot of analysis that has to be done," he said.

Mr Ryan said the Government shares the concerns of the CMO and other public health officials about the number of new Covid-19 cases following an earlier briefing.

"Well obviously we share the concerns looking at the numbers, increased incidence of the virus is clearly something of real concern across Europe, across the world and here too," he told reporters.

"So we listened intently, but Government has to balance up a range of variables. Yes, we have to look at the impacts of the virus but also the impacts in so many different ways on society and how we respond to it, so it's those wider considerations we have to consider as well."

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