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Leo Varadkar reveals when Government hopes to start removing Covid-19 restrictions

By Darragh Murphy

April 12, 2020 at 3:18pm

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Leo Varadkar has explained how it will be a gradual transition from the current Government restrictions to normality.

A number of restrictive measures are in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland, with the overriding message to citizens being to stay at home except for a few exemptions.

Varadkar extended the current measures by three weeks at a press conference on Good Friday, meaning that they will be in place until Tuesday, May 5 at the absolute earliest.

The question on when the restrictions will be lifted remains unanswerable because, as An Taoiseach explains, we have likely not yet reached the peak of cases and deaths of coronavirus in this country.

But Varadkar remains hopeful that the Government will be able to begin lifting the measures next month, although it will be a gradual process.

Varadkar told The Irish Independent: "Suppose the curve is flattening, it hasn't flattened enough yet, but because the curve is flattening, I am certainly hopeful and optimistic we'll be able to start to wind down the restrictions starting in May and then throughout the course of the summer.

"Now I can't guarantee that, our best guess is that we're not yet past the peak but we will peak some time in April, in the middle of April, and after that we may see the number of new cases falling off."

In his Easter Sunday address, Varadkar asked for the country to continue observing public health guidelines in order to get through what he predicts will be "some of our darkest days."

Varadkar, who recently returned to medicine to assist on the frontline of Ireland's fight against Covid-19, has urged citizens to remain resolute in their social distancing efforts.

"The number of hospitalisations and sadly the number of deaths continues to rise," he said.

"So we cannot lose focus. We cannot lessen our efforts. In fact, we need to redouble them for the next few weeks.

"It’s more important than ever that we persevere. It’s possible that we haven’t seen the peak yet.

"When it comes, perhaps later this month, we will experience some of our darkest days. So we need to maintain our discipline and resolve in the knowledge that better days are to come."

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