Lockdown in Ireland to continue until at least April 5

Lockdown in Ireland to continue until at least April 5

Members of the Garda Siochana (Irish Police) patrolling street in Dublin city center during Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown last month (Picture: PA)

Ireland is to remain in full lockdown until at least April 5, with the mutant variant first identified in the UK blamed for ‘changing the dynamic’ of the disease.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin made the announcement in a live address to the nation this evening, saying the country would remain in Level Five measures.

Outlining the revised Living With Covid plan, he said there would be a phased reopening of schools and childcare, with some pupils set to return to the classroom on March 1.

Junior and senior infants, as well as first and second class in primary schools, will be among the first back to school.

Leaving Certificate students are also expected to return to the classroom next week.

The plan was signed off by the Cabinet earlier.

People on Henry Street in Dublin city centre in December (Credits: PA)

It comes as a further 45 deaths of patients who tested positive for coronavirus in Ireland were announced today, along with a further 575 confirmed cases of the virus.

Micheal Martin said Ireland is ‘driving down the levels of infection’, but said the emergence of the UK variant had made the situation very different to what it was several months ago.

The Taoiseach said the B117 variant now accounts for 90% of new infections in Ireland.

‘The truth is that it has changed the dynamic significantly and we need to be very careful as we take the next steps forward,’ he said.

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