Leo Varadkar Says Further COVID-19 Restrictions Cannot Be Ruled Out
Remember when we kicked 2020's arse into the dustbin of history. It was, if I recall correctly, last Thursday. Well, the ongoing nightmare of the COVID-19 pandemic doesn't seem to care much about the new year, and, according to the Tanaiste, things might well get worse before they get better.
The former Taoiseach told RTE This Week that there had been an "explosion of cases beyond any of our modelling" and that it was "not possible to rule out additional restrictions".
Ireland has been in the highest level of restrictions, Level 5, since the middle of December, with a short break for the Christmas period, and is set to continue in the harshest measures until at least the end of January. "We have the existing restrictions a chance to work," said Varadkar, adding that it was the "firm intention of the Government to open the schools" after the Christmas break. "We don't have any advice from public health authorities that we should close schools," he added.
Level 5 is the highest level of restrictions that were laid out in the government's tiered system for dealing with COVID-19, but Varadkar has suggested that a new level of restrictions above what we are currently under could be implemented.
"It's always in our hands to the level of contact we have, so whether that's for example reducing the travel restrictions from 5km down to 2km, which we did last March and April, and there's a range of other different measures we could look at," said the Fianna Gael leader.
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"But that's for a week or two's time, if we find that the numbers aren't starting to flatten off and decrease. I think they can, nothing is certain, but my sense from looking at the traffic figures and anecdotally from friends, I think Irish people are very aware of the risks and what is at stake."
"I think we collectively have been good in the last nine months and we will be this week, locking down tight, avoiding contacts and simple measures like that are the way to manage this. And I think if we all do that we will see those numbers start to fall again and we'll avoid the worst consequences for our hospitals."
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