Republic of Ireland news

Leo Varadkar: We are on track to lift restrictions on May 4

The Republic of Ireland is on track to lift coronavirus restrictions from May 4, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has said.(Brian Lawless/PA)
James Ward, PA

The Republic of Ireland is on track to lift coronavirus restrictions from May 4, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said.

The Tánaiste also said that 80% of the population will have had their first dose of Covid vaccine, or have been offered it, by the end of June.

He said the Irish Government will sit down at the end of April to develop a reopening plan for the months of May, June and July.

The Government is planning for more outdoor activities, a phased reopening of retail and the return of personal services such as hairdressers on a staggered basis next month.

He said: “For the first time this year, the number of people in hospitals is below 200 and the number in ICU below 50.

“Cases are stable or falling, the R number is below one. Kids are back to school, the five kilometre rule is gone, we’re building houses again.

“We are on track, we’re on track both to ease restrictions as planned from May 4, and to have over 80% of people receiving their first vaccine by the end of June.”

Asked if he is sure about the June vaccination target given the issues with the rollout to date, Mr Varadkar replied: “They’ll have it in their arm or they’ll certainly have been offered it at that stage. It’s as solid as it can be.”

Mr Varadkar told RTE’s Morning Ireland the situation is “looking good”, but that things can still go wrong.

He said reopening will depend on four key indicators: “vaccines, variants, case numbers and the state of our hospitals”.

He said: “What we’ll do in about two weeks’ time at the end of April, is we’ll sit down and develop the plan for May.

“What we’re planning is allowing more outdoor activities, a phase reopening of retail and personal services.

“Over the course of the month of May there will be a phased reopening of personal services including hairdressers and barbers.

“What we’ll also do at the end of April, that’s not far away now, we’ll develop the plan for June and July.”


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