Level three restrictions are set to be imposed on Donegal from tonight following recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to the Government, according to the Irish Times.
The move was confirmed by Government sources and ministers are likely to approve the measure in an incorporeal Cabinet meeting this afternoon.
As the Irish Times reports, it was prompted by growing alarm at the rising rates of infections in the county in recent days, and will mean similar restrictions to those which currently apply in Dublin.
It is not clear however if the restrictions on pubs and restaurants now in place in the capital will be extended to Donegal.
Yesterday, there were a further 30 cases confirmed in the county and overall 719 cases have been confirmed in Donegal since the beginning of the pandemic.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that the State’s public health team NPHET privately expressed concerns about the opening of pubs stating that alcohol has a “disinhibiting effect” on people.
At a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team in late August, health officials discussed how pubs and bars “pose a particular risk to the spread of Covid-19 as alcohol can have a disinhibiting effect on people and impair judgement.”
Minutes of the NPHET meeting show the team said that regardless of how “well-intentioned people are, it can impair their awareness of and ability to comply with social distancing and hygiene and respiratory advice”.
NPHET recommended last week that Dublin needed to be moved to Level three of the Government’s new five-level alert system for containing coronavirus and that pubs not serving food should stay shut when they reopened elsewhere in the country on Monday.
The Government also agreed with NPHET’s recommendation that pubs serving food, and restaurants, while staying open in Dublin could only serve customers outside.