THE Tanaiste said Ireland would reopen “in phases” from the end of January – with Covid-19 restrictions being eased as “quickly” as possible.
NPHET will hold an emergency meeting this Thursday to advise the Government on the easing of Covid restrictions by the end of the month.
And Leo Varadkar said he expected to reopen in phases over the next few months.
Stringent Covid-19 measures, including the closure of nightclubs and an 8pm closure for hotel venues, were introduced late last year amid concerns about the contagion. spread of the Omicron variant.
The Good Gael The leader believes things “need to be eased” during the spring and summer – but he hopes some restrictions could be lifted “soon”.
“I think it will be done in phases, I don’t anticipate that we will remove all restrictions by the end of January, the beginning of February, I think it will be a follow-up process,” Varadkar said. phase over the next few months.
“I don’t want to speculate about any particular restrictions being eased, it’s not fair to people, it’s people’s lives, people’s jobs, people’s businesses, when they When they get information from the Government, they want to know that it’s coming. , they don’t want to hear the Ministers speculate about it.
“One thing I want to say is that, for the past two years, Ireland is probably the only country in the world, the only country that I know of, where I can’t stand in a pub or go to the office. your room if you want for two years.
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“It’s very hard for everyone, it’s very difficult for young people, especially those who have lost two years of their youth, it’s very difficult for single people, it’s very difficult for people who work in institutions. that field and people who are not culture and sport’ is not just a job or a business but also their passion.
“I’m very much of the opinion that everything during spring and summer, needs to be relaxed, needs to be loosened up.”
Varadkar said he was “very much in favor” of easing restrictions “as quickly as possible” if the Government could.
But he warned the fight against Covid is not over yet, immunity will weaken and there will be more variants of the virus.
Tanaiste told RTE Radio One’s This Week: “I’d love to see the reopening happen at an ambitious pace over the next few weeks, the next few months.
“But we must warn against the unfortunate reality that we have to explain to people that a lot of immunity is built up by vaccines, because people get infected.
“Immunity will decrease, there will be more variation, winter will pass but another winter will come again, so while I am very much in favor of easing restrictions as quickly as possible, we need to make sure we’re able to respond quickly as well if there’s a resurgence of the virus.”
But Varadkar said he believes Ireland has “come to a point where we also need to move on, and we’ve had very strict restrictions in Ireland for two years now. Last summer and the summer before that. , we had the strictest regulations”.
He added: “I don’t think that should happen this summer.
“I will push for a faster, more ambitious reopening over the next few months.
“Nothing risky, nothing reckless, certainly something for our European colleagues.”
He also said it has yet to be determined whether some people may require a fourth dose of the vaccine.
CASE OF INCREASE
Ireland is still recording a high number of cases, with 965 Covid-positive patients in hospital and 88 in intensive care as of Sunday morning.
But positive PCR cases dropped significantly on Sunday, as the total 14,961 new cases has been confirmed.
Some 10,753 PCR tests were confirmed, while 4,208 people registered for a positive antigen test through the HSE portal, the Ministry of Health said.
Meanwhile, a leading Professor said Ireland could return to a “new normal” in March – with the lifting of 8pm reception restrictions and extensive music festivals.
Professor of infectious diseases Sam McConkey did say that while he doesn’t expect the normalcy of 2019 to return – he does see some restrictions lifted.
“Six or eight weeks ago, many of us were told that, while Omicron looked more contagious, we hoped it wouldn’t cause illness and cause as much illness and death as previous waves,” McConkey said. .
“Now in the last four weeks of experience, we see that to be the case.
“The technical term is respiratory failure type one but it really means that a broken lung can’t take in oxygen, which is what we’ve had with Covid before and we don’t see that as a whole with This omicron.”
When asked if we’ll see normalcy return in March, McConkey said the “new normal” will return.
McConkey said he hopes restrictions on hospitality will be lifted and music festivals return but expects masks and social distancing measures to remain in place.
Prof McConkey added: “It depends on what the normative is, I don’t think we’ll see the norm in 2019, certainly people who work in the hospital, we’re going to have to test everything. people come.
“People with Covid are separate from those who don’t because people in hospitals without Covid are very susceptible to infection.
“So definitely in the workplace there will be segregation and there may be some restrictions on mask wearing and social distancing.
“So I think it’s going to be the new normal as we all famously say, but I hope the restrictions like the 8 o’clock closure will end, I hope there will be music festivals. extensive outdoor music during the summer that so many of us would look forward to.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of things that we cherish and love coming back to normal, but there are still some adjustments to be made.”
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8214563/covid-ireland-leo-varadkar-restrictions-easing-date-plan/ Covid-19 Ireland – Leo Varadkar says restrictions will ease ‘as quickly’ as possible in a ‘phased process’