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‘Possibility of more restrictions next week’ as Government concerned over Nu variant

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The Government could be forced to introduce fresh restrictions next week amid growing concerns over the ‘Nu’ variant.

Paschal Donohoe said there is a strong possibility that Cabinet may have to bring in new measures as Ireland “isn’t where we’d like to be” to deal with a new strain of Covid-19.

The Finance Minister explained that Government will be guided by advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team, but that he expects further measures may be brought in.

Speaking on RTE’s Today With Claire Byrne, he said any changed made will be as “practical and as clear as possible”.

The B.1.1.529 strain, which is expected to be named ‘Nu’ in the coming days, has not yet been detected in the EU, although some cases have been recorded in Hong Kong.



Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe

Ireland is expected to follow in the UK’s footsteps by banning travel to and from a number of African nations – which is likely to be confirmed today.

Mr Donohoe was speaking after his Government colleague, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, said he is “deeply concerned” over the new variant.

The news comes just hours after NPHET recommended that children should not attend “extra-curricular” indoor gatherings such as communions, nativity plays and other seasonal events for at least two weeks.



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Furthermore, children in third class or above should now wear masks while in school, according to NPHET, and those aged nine or older should be masked while in areas where face coverings are required by adults.

A full decision on these potential changes, plus any additional measures, will be made at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

For more information, follow our dedicated Covid-19 Live blog.



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