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New Covid plan will detail local restrictions in event of case spikes, Martin says

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has appealed to adults to limit their social contacts in order to ensure schools can stay open and people continue working.

He said the new long-term plan for living alongside Covid-19 to be launched on Monday will be clear about at what stage local restrictions will kick in if required.

“I am asking people to limit their social contacts, especially adults. We want schools to stay open and we want people to keep working,” he said.

Mr Martin said the Government wanted to ensure there was a clear and consistent approach to dealing with Covid-19.

“I think people are tired and fatigued with this virus” he told RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.

Next week’s plan will offer a framework, with “simple messaging” about the different levels that will apply in the event of spikes in numbers. “We are moving into a second phase.”

Mr Martin said he knew it had been difficult and challenging for people and he called on the public to be resilient.

He said he was very concerned with increased Covid numbers, but that the Government had “learned lessons from the past” and he hoped Ireland would not see a return of significant outbreaks in nursing homes.

The Taoiseach defended the testing and tracing system, saying the State had one of the highest levels of testing in Europe. Locations such as meat plants, direct provision centres and nursing homes remained key, he said.

“We want to protect lives and livelihoods.”

Mr Martin said the Government had “broad trust” in the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advice and would listen to any advice they have.

But the bottom line was that personal behaviour mattered, and people needed to reduce their contacts, he said.

With regard to the opening of pubs, Mr Martin said that in counties where there were low levels of the virus there was a case for reopening. However, he pointed out that the decision about the opening of pubs always had the caveat about local figures.

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