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Varadkar 'can't rule out' some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22nd

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says he "can't rule out" some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond Octob...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.12 13 Oct 2021


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Varadkar 'can't rule out' some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22nd


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.12 13 Oct 2021


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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says he "can't rule out" some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22nd.

He said the final decision on the last stage of reopening will depend on COVID-19 numbers over the next few days, as well as NPHET's advice next week.

Almost all remaining legal restrictions are set to be eased in just over a week's time, with just limited measures - such as mask-wearing on public transport and in shops - to remain.

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However, daily COVID case numbers have remained stubbornly high, and there's also been an increase in hospitalisations and ICU admissions over the past week or so.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, Mr Varadkar said the recent numbers are worrying.

Varadkar 'can't rule out' some COVID-19 restrictions remaining beyond October 22nd

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

He said: "The Delta wave didn’t turn out to be as severe as we feared… but we’ve never managed to really get numbers down in Ireland.

“The Delta wave swept across Europe… but you see countries in central Europe that are now yellow zones or green zones, and we’re still a red zone.

“There is going to be a NPHET meeting early next week - we have to see what the outcome of that meeting is and what their advice is."

The Tánaiste suggested there are "lots of theories" about why the caseload in Ireland has remained so high, but nobody knows for sure.

He also said it's now a "pandemic of the unvaccinated", and the numbers in ICU would be as low as 25 (compared to 73 at the moment) if everyone was fully vaccinated.

Mr Varadkar said he still is keen for the Government to push ahead with the full reopening, but added that he "can't rule out the possibility" of some restrictions remaining.

He said: “The plan is to lift pretty much all legal restrictions on October 22nd, to remove the vaccine pass [requirement] from restaurants for example.

"But that is something we have to consider next week, depending on the numbers and the advice from NPHET."

He stressed that 'Freedom Day' is never a word the Irish Government has used to describe the planned lifting of remaining restrictions.


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