Leo Varadkar: We are "nowhere near where we need to be" to begin easing lockdown restrictions
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has already said current restrictions would last well into February.
Level 5 restrictions currently in place in Ireland will not be eased next week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.
Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, Varadkar said that Ireland is "nowhere near" where it needs to be for restrictions to be eased, but that things may change at some point in February.
"The Covid situation is very serious," he said.
"We're still seeing more than 2,000 cases per day. More than 200 people are in ICU, about 2,000 are in hospitals.
"Things are starting to fall slightly in terms of cases and hospitalisations, but not at the pace we would like. And while no decision has yet been made on restrictions, I think it's fair to say that we're nowhere near where we need to be to ease Level 5 restrictions.
"Of course that doesn't mean that schools can't open in February, and there is the possibility of opening more construction sites, because they're not supposed to be closed in a normal Level 5."
Currently, schools are due to reopen on 1 February.
Varadkar also said on Thursday that mandatory quarantine for those coming into Ireland is not "proportionate" and that the current mandatory requirement of a PCR test is being met with a very high degree of compliance.