Coronavirus: Leo Varadkar confirms move to Phase Three from Monday

Ireland will move to phase three of the easing of lockdown restrictions from Monday, Leo Varadkar has confirmed.
Coronavirus: Leo Varadkar confirms move to Phase Three from Monday
Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris at a press conference in Dublin Castle today. Picture: Julien Behal

Ireland will move to Phase Three of the easing of lockdown restrictions from Monday, Leo Varadkar has confirmed.

The Government says Phase Three of the plan for reopening the country will kick in from June 29.

Foreign travel to certain countries from July 9 has also been also approved by Cabinet.

Air bridges will be established between countries with similarly low infection rates from that date, enabling people to travel without undergoing quarantine.

Families will be able to meet up while a list of countries for travel from which quarantining is not necessary will be published next month.

Ministers also agreed to make the

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The Government said "a wide range of businesses and services can now open or recommence from Monday” including:

  • Adult education facilities, crèches, pre-schools, summer camps and youth clubs
  • Museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and other cultural outlets
  • Religious buildings and places of worship
  • Wellbeing services like massage therapy, chiropractors, hairdressers and beauty salons
  • Driving schools and driving testing
  • The hospitality sector including cafes and restaurants, pubs and hotel bars serving food, hotels and holiday parks.

A Government statement said: "Up to 50 people can gather indoors and up to 200 outdoors, providing social distancing and public health advice is adhered to.

"Phase 4 is expected to commence on July 20, subject to Government approval. At that point pubs, bars, hotel bars and casinos may reopen, with the number of people permitted at outdoor gatherings rising to 500, and 100 indoors."

Mr Varadkar praised the Irish people for the efforts they have gone to in battling the virus.

"Our country has suffered greatly. Our mental health has been eroded. Some people became sick, many more were sick with worry," he said.

"People lost their jobs and were anxious about their livelihoods and their futures. We worried about family, we worried about friends, we worried about ourselves.

“This has not been an easy time for any of us, but we have come through it as a country. We must now try and repair the damage that has been done, across all parts of our lives, and show the same solidarity in doing so.

"I believe that if we show the same courage, the same determination, and the same care for each other, we will overcome these new challenges as well."

Mr Varadkar added that air bridges were established between countries with similar incidence rates of the virus.

“The risk of it being imported into the country is no higher than from one county to another.”

He predicted they would see new outbreaks or spikes but it was unlikely they would all be related to international air travel.

The Fine Gael leader reiterated his pledge to keep the border with Northern Ireland open.

He said Great Britain had a relatively high infection rate but there was some time left for improvements before a decision was made on whether to form an air bridge with it.

Health Minister Simon Harris said families would once again be able to meet up.

He said: “It is going to be a week of intense emotions and intense joy.”

He reiterated that people were responsible for curbing the spread of the virus.

He said the country was returning to a “new normality”.

The news comes as it was announced that

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It brings the death toll in Ireland to 1,727.

The Department of Health has also announced that there have been 11 new confirmed cases of the virus in the country.

There are now 25,405 cases of the virus in the country.

Earlier today, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met to review Ireland’s ongoing response and preparedness to Covid-19.

"NPHET noted today that over a third of new cases in the past 14 days are under 35 years of age," said Cheif Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.

"It also noted a number of EU countries reported an increase in new cases.

“7% of cases notified in Ireland over the past fortnight have been associated with travel. NPHET expressed a clear view that overseas travel poses a risk to importation of the disease and to further transmission in Ireland.

“The ECDC has recently warned that the pandemic is not over. Ireland has made significant gains in suppressing Covid-19. Our task over the coming weeks and months is maintaining these gains.”

- additional reporting from Press Association

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