CONFIRMED: Level 5 restrictions to remain in place until 5 March 1 month ago

CONFIRMED: Level 5 restrictions to remain in place until 5 March

Even with restrictions extended, Micheál Martin said there will still be a "significant number" of people in hospital at the end of February.

The current public health restrictions will remain in place until at least 5 March, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed.

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Speaking on Tuesday morning, Martin confirmed media reports about the extension of the restrictions and that they would remain in place until the first Friday in March.

He said the presentations on Monday had shown that even if restrictions remain in place, there will still be a "significant number of people in hospital at the end of February".

Martin called this "the real, clear motivating factor" in the decision to extend the restrictions.

The objective is to reduced pressure on the health service and intensive care units, Martin said.

Ireland is also expected to introduce tighter restrictions on incoming travel. Passengers without a negative PCR test in the 72 hours before arrival will have to stay in quarantine hotels for at least five days.

It's understood that these passengers arriving will be required to pay to stay in the supervised hotels for between five and 14 days, depending on whether they then get a Covid-19 test in Ireland and if it comes back negative.

Speaking on Monday night, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said if passengers have a negative PCR test in the 72 hours before entering the country, they will not be required to stay in the supervised hotels but there will be a requirement for them to quarantine at home.

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On the issue of mandatory quarantine, Varadkar suggested that if it was introduced, it would probably remain in place in Ireland for as long as a year.