Leo Varadkar: 22 October is not going to be 'Freedom Day'
The Tánaiste said the Covid-19 pandemic is now a "pandemic of the unvaccinated".
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that Friday, 22 October is not going to be "Freedom Day", adding that he "can't rule out" some Covid-19 restrictions remaining after the country's final stages of reopening.
The majority of remaining legal restrictions are set to be eased from the end of October including the reopening of nightclubs and removal of the Covid Cert, domestically.
However, speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday, Varadkar stressed that "Freedom Day" is not a term that the Irish Government has used to date.
"'Freedom Day' is never a term that has been used by the Irish government," he said.
"The plan is to go ahead and ease most of the legal restrictions on 22 October, but that will depend on the case numbers over the coming days and the advice from NPHET."
Varadkar said the recent case numbers have been "pretty stable" but at a "high level" which he described as a "cause of concern".
He said: "The Delta wave didn’t turn out to be as severe as we feared, but we’ve never managed to really get numbers down in Ireland.
"The Delta wave swept across Europe, but you see countries in central Europe that are now yellow zones or green zones, and we’re still a red zone."
The Tánaiste said that the Covid-19 pandemic is now a "pandemic of the unvaccinated", with the majority of ICU cases being related to those who have yet to receive the jab.
He added that there is going to be a National Public Health Emergency Team meeting early next week to discuss the easing of restrictions.
"We have to see what the outcome of that meeting is and what their advice is," he said.
Varadkar said that he is "very keen" to push ahead with the full reopening, however, he "can't rule out the possibility" of some restrictions remaining as it will be "based on case numbers".
"The plan is to lift pretty much all legal restrictions on 22 October, to remove the vaccine pass from restaurants for example, but that is something we're going to have consider next week based on case numbers," he continued.
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