The 14 day incidence of Covid-19 is now rising faster than at any point since March, increasing to 122 per 100 thousand, after 727 new cases were confirmed last night.
It’s expected that From mid-afternoon on Christmas eve, restaurants and gastropubs will be told to close, under plans going to cabinet this morning. However non-essential retail will be allowed to remain open.
The ban on intercounty travel is expected to return from December 27th - however, there will be exemptions for returning to work.
It’s believed the ban on flights from the UK is also being extended until the end of the year.
Senior health officials have warned Ministers Level 5 restrictions will also be needed after Christmas, as the country's "clearly" in a third wave of the virus.