All Restrictions Could Be Lifted By March 31 – Leo Varadkar

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Leo Varadkar has said that all restrictions could be lifted by March 31.

Speaking at a Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, the Tánaiste pointed to March 31 as a possible “freedom day”. Restrictions could be lifted by then.

However, he did exercise caution. He said that we must be careful of another possible Covid variant later this year.

 “The Tanaiste spoke about the progress being made on Covid-19″, a TD said at a meeting.

“The fact that Omicron is less severe and that a high level of immunity has built up due to vaccination and infection”. 

“the same extent”

The TD said that Mr Varadkar had revealed that all numbers make for positive reading. These include hospitalisations, ICU figures and deaths.

“This meant that hospitalisations, ICU numbers and deaths did not increase to the same extent as in previous waves”, the TD noted. “He said this gives us a strong degree of confidence. That we can ease restrictions quickly over the next few weeks”.

“He said that by and large, we’ve got most things right as a government and as a society when it comes to Covid which is evident from case fatality ratios, the number of deaths per million in population, the number of people in hospital per million, the percentage of people vaccinated and the impact on our economy and public finances”.  

They also said that Varadkar has earmarked March 31 as the date for restrictions to be lifted.

“He (Varadkar) expressed his wish to set March 31 as a deadline to end almost all legal restrictions. While stating we cannot promise anything yet and there is still the option of extending for another three months until the end of June”.

“He also noted we may have to keep some measures another while longer. These include mask wearing in crowded places, staying at home when symptomatic and Covid passes for international travel”.

“Varadkar said we must continue to be prepared for a new severe variant of concern later in the year. That means being prepared for another round of vaccination if that’s necessary, being able to switch back on test/trace/isolate programmes, investing in improved air quality in our buildings and continued increases in hospital bed capacity and ICUs”. 

This also comes after the Taoiseach revealed that NPHET will meet on January 20 to discuss easing of such restrictions. More on this here.