Government to face Dáil questions on lifting Covid-19 restrictions

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will take questions in the Dáil on Thursday as he weighs up moving to phase one of Ireland's roadmap to reopening society.
Government to face Dáil questions on lifting Covid-19 restrictions

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at a visit to a contact tracing centre in Dublin. Picture: Photocall Ireland / PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaking at a visit to a contact tracing centre in Dublin. Picture: Photocall Ireland / PA Wire

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will take questions in the Dáil on Thursday as he weighs up moving to phase one of Ireland's roadmap to reopening society.

With the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) set to meet on Friday, the Dáil session will be the last chance opposition TDs have to question the Taoiseach before an announcement on easing or continuing Covid-19 restrictions is made.

Speaking on Today FM on Wednesday, Mr Varadkar said that if improvements in the number of new cases continues, Ireland will be in a position to reopen parts of its economy from Monday.

“If things continue to go in the right direction they have been for the last couple of days, Cabinet on Friday will give the green light for things to change on Monday," he said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said that he is hopeful restrictions can be eased, which would allow outdoor employment, including construction, resume, but it is not guaranteed.

In the Dáil, the Taoiseach is expected to be questioned on the country's capacity to test, contact trace and suppress the virus. It is understood that Taoiseach will also face questions on the transparency and publication of health advice on which the decisions around restrictions are being made.

The Taoiseach will also take questions on the protocols around people who enter or re-enter the state through our air and seaports. Current guidance is that people should isolate for 14 days, but questions have been raised about the effectiveness and enforcement of that guideline.

The Taoiseach indicated that it is likely that laws around isolating will be introduced.

“The very strong advice from government is that anyone entering our country, whether they are an Irish citizen or not, needs to quarantine and self-isolate for 14 days with the exception of certain key workers. We are going to strengthen that over the next few weeks," he said while visiting a Dublin contact-tracing centre.

Health Minister Simon Harris will also answer questions in the chamber on Thursday, including on the effect the virus has had on Ireland's nursing homes. Mr Harris last week said the facilities remained "an area of concern".

Mr Harris will also be asked about face coverings. The Irish Examiner

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