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Taoiseach praises the great national effort that’s underway to suppress Covid-19

It's been suggested that Ireland is now one of the leaders in Europe when it comes to progress in pushing back the virus

The Taoiseach is encouraging people to see Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions through to the end.

One more death & 395 new cases of the virus were announced last evening, up to four each in Carlow & Kilkenny.

It’s as we’re at the mid-way point in the measures, and Micheál Martin says the data shows people are complying.

The Taoiseach is paying tribute to the great national effort that’s underway to suppress the virus, and bring down the rate of infection across all communities.

Micheál Martin says we’re one of the leaders in Europe when it comes to progress in pushing back the virus and the data suggests the effort is working.

But he believes we cannot take anything for granted and must continue to adhere to the restrictions for the next three weeks.

He says by continuing to drive down the incidence of the disease, we give ourselves the best chance to reopen parts of our society and enjoy a meaningful Christmas.

He says the fact we have been able to make progress at Level 5, while also keeping our schools and construction open, is testament to the tremendous efforts of the people involved in those sectors and the sacrifice and discipline of everyone else.

He’s also paying particular tribute to our young people for the successful suppression of the virus among their age groups.

International Travel …

The Chief Medical Officer says international travel will be one of the biggest Covid 19 risks in the run-up to Christmas.

Dr Tony Holohan has urged people to avoid non essential travel – and that includes Irish people abroad flying home for Christmas.

NPHET is hopeful all counties can move out of Level 5 restrictions on December 1st based on the current trends.

But Dr Holohan has raised concerns about the risk of international travel in the weeks ahead.

Health officials say they’re “almost certain” the number of daily Covid-19 cases will fall to below 100 by the start of December.

The 14 day incidence rate is now estimated to be 135 per 100,000, one of the lowest in Europe. Kilkenny’s currently stands at 128 while Carlow’s is down to 101.9.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of NPHET’s modelling advisory group, says the trends are encouraging.

Northern Ireland ….

Businesses in Northern Ireland have criticised an extension to the circuit breaker lockdown.

The restrictions will be in place for another week after Stormont agreed after four days of discussions.

However pubs and licenced restaurants will have to keep their doors shut for two weeks.

The measures have already been in place for four weeks.

General Manager of the Stormont Hotel is Andy McNeill, he says this is the biggest challenge he’s faced while working in the industry.

Meanwhile, the discussions in Stormont over the last couple of days have been overshadowed by disagreements between the political parties.

The DUP rejected a number of proposals over the past couple of days using its veto.

Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty is very critical of the party for not wanting to follow the advice of the North’s Chief Medical Officer.