"Steady as she goes" - Taoiseach suggests there won't be any imminent easing of Covid-19 restrictions
“Pandemics don’t end on a designated Freedom Day."
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has suggested that Ireland will not see any easing of restrictions in the immediate future.
His comments came after Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan said on Wednesday that Ireland might be in a position "in the coming weeks" to move away from some economic and social Covid-19 restrictions, should Ireland's high vaccine uptake rates continue.
Asked by reporters if there could now be scope for more restrictions to be relaxed over August, he said: "I think it's steady as she goes.
"The consistent message from me has been we don't want to go backwards, we don't want any derailment along the journey of reopening.
"That is important in terms of giving certainty and clarity to the different sectors.
"It's a big issue for people when they reopen, there's a lot of work and preparation that has to go into reopening facilities, so we don't want to regress once that is done in particular sectors."
The Taoiseach ruled out an Irish version of the England's 'Freedom Day', whereby the majority of Covid-19 restrictions would be eased, as was the case across the water earlier this month.
"I’m very conscious that in other countries, months ago, leaders declared victory over Covid but they were hit by subsequent waves," Martin added.
"There will be worries over the winter period in terms of what the winter brings in, maybe in the form of new variants.
“Pandemics don’t end on a designated Freedom Day. They hopefully peter out or we will adapt as humans to live with this particular virus or we will have enough tools at our disposal to deal with it like we deal with the flu.”
While Martin said he was "cautiously positive" about Ireland's Covid-19 situation, he stated the government will be closely monitoring the link between case numbers, hospitalisations and the impact of these on health services.
“During August there will be three Covid Cabinet subcommittee meetings and we will engage with NPHET and public health advice with regard to forming a view as to how we move forward then in September," he added.