Cabinet set to agree to encourage people to restrict social activities

Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she expected Cabinet to agree to advise people to continue to restrict their movements to help reduce the number of Covid cases.

Ms McEntee said ministers will meet this week to discuss advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).

Nphet meets with party leaders to discuss the Omicron Covid variant and its impact on health advice in Ireland.

The Cabinet will meet on Tuesday and are expected to agree a number of measures including restrictions on school play dates, birthday parties and school gatherings.

Ms McEntee said people are “generally ahead” of the government in reducing their social activities.

“We have seen over the past few weeks, especially as the numbers have continued to rise, the general public has backed down, whether it is canceling large gatherings or simply reducing and restricting their global movements,” added the Minister for Fine Gael.

“When it comes to children’s birthday parties or any type of gathering, that’s the case here too.

“We need to meet the Cabinet in a day or two, we have a letter and advice from the Chief Medical Officer and his team. Of course, we’ll explore that.

“I assume and assume at this point that we will be advising and encouraging people to continue to restrict their movement.

Like everything else with Covid it takes some weird twists and turns and we still keep everything under control

Welfare Minister, Heather Humphreys

“But we have to decide all of this collectively in Cabinet.”

Any restrictions agreed will be aimed at dealing with the number of cases ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys has not said whether there are plans to allow those recently out of work to claim Pandemic Unemployment Pay (PUP).

“The PUP is currently being paid to people who participate and that number has dropped significantly,” Ms Humphreys added.

“We’re down to 55,000 people on PUP – further reduced this week again.

“It shows me that people are going back to work, the numbers on the live register are also going down.

“Like everything else with Covid, it takes some weird twists and turns and we’re still keeping everything under control.”

Joel C. Hicks