Taoiseach confirms Level 5 will last until at least Easter

The government has warned there's a long way to go before COVID restrictions can be substantially lifted.

The Taoiseach has confirmed Level 5 will last until at least Easter - with some planned exceptions for schools and construction.

The government has moved to play down March the 5th as a date when any restrictions might be eased. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying not enough progress has been made, "These figures are still higher than the peak of the first wave, and we have a long way to go yet before we are in a position to ease restrictions substantially we need to get down to much lower numbers than we have now".

Schools are likely to go through a phased re-opening next month while the full construction sector will open.

Meanwhile a delay has been announced to the vaccination programme for over-70s.

It was meant to be completed by the end of March.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly revising the timeline:

"The group will have finished their second doses in May, by mid-May, but as always these things are dependent on the supplies arriving in". 

However, he said on current figures it may well still be possible to vaccinate the entire country by September.

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