Decision on Level 5 restrictions to be made next week - Taoiseach

The Taoiseach says a decision on exiting Level 5 restrictions in early December will be made next week.

Micheál Martin told a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last night that he wants people to have a 'wholesome and enjoyable' Christmas.

A Dáil debate on exiting Level 5 will take place on Tuesday, however the ultimate decision will be taken by cabinet later in the week.

It comes as the number of deaths from Covid-19 here has now passed 2,000 - a further 12 deaths were reported yesterday along with 379 new cases.

Infectious disease specialist at the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Sam McConkey, says the current trends mean we should be extending the lockdown rather than easing it.

"The optimist in me hopes the numbers drop like they did in the first two weeks in November.

"The realist says that if the last week's trends continues then we're still going to be left with a lot of circulating Covid-19 in all the counties in Ireland.

"Obviously we're caught up into the festive season of Christmas, so that puts a time restraint on our relaxation (of measures).

"But ideally we would continue in this period of restrictions for even longer and try and get the numbers down really low."

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