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Restrictions to continue for months: Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. RollingNews.ie photo

By Irish Echo Staff

Any lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland will be gradual and will likely take months, this according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

A state of lockdown has been in place in the republic since March 27 and is right now set to continue until May 5.

Speaking in the Dail Thursday, Mr. Varadkar said that the Oireachtas had to consider “how to get things can back to normal bit by bit."

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He said Ireland could look at other countries “a few weeks ahead of us” for guidance.

The easing of restrictions would be gradual and would ultimately take months.

Meanwhile, Mr. Varadkar's handing of the pandemic in Ireland has attracted global coverage, spurred in part by the fact that he is a medical doctor who is now working part time as a doctor on a phone line answering questions about Covid-19.

There was a laudatory report in the New York Times last weekend and on Thursday the Globe and Mail in Toronto carried a report that stated in part: "As leaders around the world grapple with how to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, few have managed to revive their careers better than Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.

"Two months ago, Mr. Varadkar looked like a spent force. His party, Fine Gael, had finished third in the national election, and Mr. Varadkar was on his way out as Taoiseach, or Prime Minister. He remained in a caretaker role while the other parties began coalition talks but seemed destined for years in opposition. Then the pandemic took hold in early March and everything changed.

Suddenly Mr. Varadkar looked decisive and empathetic, traits many voters had long felt he sorely lacked. He quickly closed down much of the country and gave an impassioned speech on St. Patrick’s Day that even his toughest critics cheered. 'In years to come, let them say of us, when things were at their worst, we were at our best,' Mr. Varadkar implored. He has also won rave reviews for drawing on his background as a medical doctor to help explain the government’s actions and for working one day a week in the health service tending to patients.

"The results so far have been impressive. Ireland has suffered less than half the number of COVID-19 deaths per capita than neighboring Britain and has conducted twice as many tests."


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