Move to Level 4 nationwide is likely but "not inevitable", says Simon Harris 5 days ago

Move to Level 4 nationwide is likely but "not inevitable", says Simon Harris

"We do think the household visits could potentially be a game changer if we get it right."

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has said that a move to Level 4 across the country is likely, but "not inevitable".

The government announced new measures on Wednesday night which sees Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan moving to Level 4 of the Living with Covid-19 framework from midnight on Thursday.

The remainder of the country will remain at Level 3 with some additional restrictions, including a ban on home and garden visits.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday morning, Harris acknowledged he was worried about the rising number of cases across the country and said it is "likely" but not "inevitable" the country will need to move to Level 4.

"If you look at the figures today and in terms of the cases... we had the highest number of cases ever recorded yesterday," he said.

"2,000 people on the island of Ireland yesterday had a confirmed case of Covid, so it is likely but it is not inevitable.

"We're about a week into really kind of pushing Level 3 nationwide and we need to try and give that a little bit more time.

"That's what the Taoiseach last night and the Tánaiste were rightly saying, let's take these enhanced Level 3 measures and we do think, painful and difficult and annoying as it is, we do think the household visits could potentially be a game changer if we get it right," Harris said.

Harris also called on more people to work from home if possible, saying he knew it wasn't an option for many, but that the government was trying to "stretch" Level 3 as far as possible to give it a "fighting chance" and working from home if possible was part of that.

Along with stopping home visits, Harris also wants to see more people wearing masks correctly, saying the research clearly shows they can play a role in combating infections.