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covid caution Irish government 'watching England very carefully' amid Delta variant concerns

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the country is still on track for reopening despite Delta variant concerns

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Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar

The country is still on track for reopening as planned in July and August, despite Delta variant concerns.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the current epidemiological situation, with cases and hospitalisations falling, would allow to proceed with reopening plans.

This would see indoor dining, mass gatherings and international travel returning in July.

“The numbers are all still going in the right direction, cases going down, hospitalisations going down, more people getting vaccinated and double-jabbed every day,” he said.

“In England, we’re watching the situation very carefully there.

“But as things stand for now, the plan is to proceed with the July reopening as planned. International travel and restrictions [lifted] on July 19 and then further relaxation in August.”

“Among the things under consideration for August is the return to the office,” he said.

The Tánaiste said that he would be “very reluctant” to allow employees return to the office on the basis of if they were vaccinated or not as this is “private medical information”.

“You’d want to have a really strong, overwhelming public health case for that to change,” he said.

Mr Varadkar said that over 80pc of the population will be fully vaccinated “in a few months time” and that a small majority not vaccinated will not be “relevant”.

“Where we hope we’ll be is that 80pc, 90pc or 95pc of the population, or at least the population over 12, fully vaccinated in a few months time. At that point, it’s not particularly relevant if a small percentage of people aren’t fully vaccinated.”

The Tánaiste was speaking to reporters at Dublin Zoo this morning, where he thanked the public for its support and donations to the Zoo when it was closed during the majority of the pandemic.

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