Nphet postpones key meeting over Covid restrictions easing

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has postponed a key meeting ahead of decisions on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions from April 5th.

The Irish Times reports that the meeting, planned for Thursday, was deferred so that the latest trends in Covid-19 data could be taken into account in Nphet’s final analysis for the Government.

The meeting will now take place on Monday, before decisions over restrictions are taken by the Cabinet on Tuesday.

Nphet has warned that the epidemiological situation in Ireland “remains particularly fragile” due to a recent stalling of progress in driving down infection rates.

With daily case figures stalled around the 500 mark, restrictions on the construction sector, the five kilometre exercise limit and outdoor activities are under consideration.

‘Elevated and static’

Writing to the Minister for Health on March 18th, the country’s deputy chief medical officer said disease incidence and test positivity had plateaued “at a high level over recent days”.


Dr Ronan Glynn said the number of people referred for a Covid-19 test by GPs had increased over the last week.

Community test positivity remained “elevated and static”, he added.

“The number of confirmed cases in hospital and ICU remains above the highest levels seen in wave 2,” he said.

“Indicators of population mobility have risen over recent weeks and will continue to be kept under close review.”

The postponed Nphet meeting comes as the Government has been urged to forego blanket Level 5 restrictions in favour of local lockdowns in areas with Covid-19 hotspots.

As the April 5th review date for restrictions moves closer, official figures show that Covid-19 is thriving in some counties but has been almost crushed in others.

The changing Covid-19 picture has prompted calls for regional or more localised restrictions.