Taoiseach would like to accelerate opening the country if conditions allow

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Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this morning he would like to accelerate the opening of the country in the coming weeks but added the caveat that it was 'too soon' to make the call now.

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, Leo Varadkar said the situation needed to be monitored over the next two weeks before making any decisions on changing the Road Map laid down for reopening the country.

The Taoiseach said, “I’d like to be in the situation where we can accelerate the opening of the country, but it’s far too soon to make that call because we still don’t know what the impact is of these restrictions that happened this Monday.

“We won’t know that really until the first week of June, before we can make any call on moving to phase two, or even perhaps bringing forward some of the relaxations, we’ll need see that data first.”

He appealed to people to continue to follow the advice and restrictions in place to avoid any further spread of the virus added that any changes would only come if it is safe to do so.

In a lengthy interview on Newstalk Breakfast, the Taoiseach said he was confident that some sectors of the economy 'would bounce back quickly' but some sectors would be more greatly affected and would need 'the maximum amount of assistance and support'.

He also shared his concerns about potential 'secondary deaths' as a result of the measures in place to deal with the virus.

“We are always very conscious of the whole issue of secondary deaths. People who don’t die of Covid but die as a consequence of some of the decisions we have to take to get Covid under control. There is delayed diagnosis for cancers, for example, people not going to hospital when they have chest pain or when they have symptoms of stroke and potentially dying as a result.”

He also warned that anyone refusing to return to work would lose the Covid-19 payment. 

"If somebody is offered their job back and they refuse to take their job back, they lose eligibility for the payment,”

You can listen to the full interview on the Newstalk website BY CLICKING HERE