The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he does not know if coronavirus restrictions will be lifted on May 5th.
Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday, he warned normal life will not fully return until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.
The Dáil is debating the Government's response to the virus.
Mr Varadkar said he was sorry Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald not in the chamber and wished her well.
He also congratulated Alan Kelly on his Labour Party leadership win.
At the start of business Mr Varadkar warned measures may be extended beyond the current timeline.
"I don't yet know if we'll be able to relax restrictions on the 5th of May - but I do know that if we can at all, it's going to be gradual and will happen over a number of months.
"As we know from Asia, they may even need to be reimposed again because only a scientific breakthrough - a vaccine or an effective anti-viral medicine - will truly allow life to go back to being as it was".
He also said it will likely be late this year before any Leaving Certificate students can start third-level education.
"The view is that there will be sufficient time then to correct the papers and allow this year's current sixth years to begin the college term - but that will probably be late: it'll probably be October or November.
"But as soon as we've more information, as soon as we've more certainty around that, the Minister for Education will put that in the public domain"
Mr Varadkar also said the Cabinet sub-committee had discussed nursing homes - and added that it is very difficult to manage the virus when it is in the community.
His comments come after Health Minister Simon Harris told his European counterparts that Ireland is not yet ready to begin the reduction of the public health measures.
He was speaking on Wednesday as part of an informal, high-level video conference call of European health ministers.
Speaking on the call, Minster Harris said: "At the appropriate time, Ireland will support a well-coordinated and planned exit approach across Europe.
"It is essential Europe works together to plan and learn from each other.
"While member states can learn from each other and share significant experience, it is essential people here continue to follow the public health advice."
"The disease is not yet under control. We must see a situation where the disease has significantly decreased and stabilised for a sustained period of time", he added.
Reporting by Sean Defoe and Jack Quann