Coronavirus: Irish Cabinet forced to restrict movements after minister falls ill

Stephen Connelly began to feel unwell on Tuesday. Credit: PA

Members of the Irish cabinet are restricting their movements and parliament has been suspended indefinitely, it has been announced.

The move came just hours after ministers announced a new Covid-19 blueprint to further reopen the country’s economic, social and cultural life.

Ceann Comhairle (speaker) Sean O Fearghail made the announcement to those gathered in the Dail on Tuesday evening.

“I have very serious information. I’m told that arising out of events today, the cabinet must now self-isolate,” he said.

“Therefore the possibility of proceeding with business does not arise and the house stands adjourned, I suspect, until Tuesday next.

“Or until I’m directed by the Taoiseach to reconvene the house. So Dail adjourned until further notice.”

Earlier, health minister Stephen Donnelly reported feeling unwell.

It has been reported that he has contacted his GP for a Covid-19 test.

He took part in the cabinet meeting on Thursday morning, before later attending a press conference announcing the government’s latest Covid-19 plan to move forward over the next six months.

The medium-term six-month plan for living with coronavirus is structured around five different levels of restrictions, numbered from one to five.

Every county in Ireland has been given a status two risk level, but several additional restrictions are being applied to Dublin – which stop short of level three status.

Ireland’s capital has seen a marked increase in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

The added restrictions in the city and wider Dublin county will see pubs that do not serve food having to remain closed when those in the rest of the country open next week.

Unveiling the plan, Ireland premier Micheal Martin said: “We must continue to live with the reality that Covid-19 is potentially deadly, causes long-term illness, and we must limit the spread.

“When the vaccine is available, we will move quickly to implement a widespread vaccination programme, however I want people to understand that even before then, we can go much further in opening up economic, social and cultural life in our country.

“We can do this if we work together in implementing the comprehensive plan, which we’re launching today.”