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Plans to reopen the country will be considered today by Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19

Schools are expected to return on a phased basis from March 1st

The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 will consider plans to reopen the country after the latest lockdown today.

Schools are expected to return on a phased basis from March 1st, while Level 5 restrictions are expected to be extended beyond March 5th.

One more death was announced last night with 679 new cases of Covid-19, 15 of them in Kilkenny with nine in Carlow.

13 patients at St Luke’s General were being treated for the virus last night, four in intensive care with one further suspected case. While four people are in the ICU at University Hospital Waterford, among 44 there with Coronavirus after five new admissions and two others showing symptoms.

The national 14-day incidence rate of the disease is 243, which is the lowest it’s been since December 21st. Carlow’s isn’t far off that at 249.4 while Kilkenny’s is at 107.8.

DCU Professor Anthony Staines says the discovery of the Brazilian variant here shows the need for mandatory quarantine hotels.

Trade union Siptu says low-paid migrant workers should not have to pay for their own quarantine.

It says the discovery of the Brazilian variant is a “real concern”.

Manufacturing sector organiser, Greg Ennis says without a mandatory sick pay scheme, some face real pressure to keep working if they fall ill.

App

A new Irish app will show if someone has had a covid 19 test before they go into a workplace or large venue.

The ‘V-Health Passport’ app has a VCode which can be scanned at an entrance so only those with negative test results get in.

In the UK

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will reveal plans later to reopen England’s economy and society following a Covid-19 lockdown.

The measures are expected to ease from March 8th, with a cautious and gradual approach expected.

A phased return for pupils in the first few years of primary schools begins in Wales and Scotland today.

Some older secondary students in Scotland will be allowed back for practical assignments.

Speaking last week, Welsh health minister Vaughan Gething highlighted how, in many ways, the activity within classrooms isn’t the challenge.