| 18 April 2024, Thursday |

Ireland to wait a few weeks before reopening economy further

Beyond Monday’s anticipated restoration of indoor dining and drinking in restaurants and bars, Ireland would wait a few weeks before contemplating reducing COVID-19 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday.

Due to fears over the COVID-19 Delta variant, Ireland has been progressively unraveling its third and longest lockdown. Earlier this month, plans to allow indoor service in pubs and restaurants for the first time this year were postponed.

After parliament passed legislation that can be extended to other indoor settings such as nightclubs and music venues if the government chose to open up further, fully vaccinated clients will be permitted to dine and drink indoors starting next week.

“The advise from NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) and the feeling in government is to hold on to what we’ve got for a few weeks before we loosen any additional restrictions,” Varadkar said on Newstalk radio.

Ireland’s tight regulations have resulted in 18.3 percent of the workforce being unemployed, either permanently or temporarily. More than half of them are receiving COVID-19 temporary unemployment payments, which might drop even more with the restoration of indoor eating.

In Ireland, the more transmissible Delta form is causing a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections, with the 14-day incidence rate increasing to 246 per 100,000 people from 93 a month ago.

Ireland’s vaccination program, on the other hand, is currently moving at one of the quickest rates in Europe, with 66 percent of the adult population fully protected and 80 percent partially protected with the first of two doses, considerably reducing the rate of serious disease and mortality from COVID-19.

COVID-19 has been documented in 287,951 people in Ireland’s 4.9 million population, with 5,026 deaths.

  • Reuters