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Covid latest Varadkar 'wasn't surprised' by Nphet's level 5 recommendation


Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said a second lockdown will be more difficult than the first and may not save Christmas after Nphet recommended Level Five restrictions for six weeks.

Mr Varadkar said he had not seen the latest advice from Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan but said he “wasn’t surprised” by the recommendation of another lockdown.

Speaking outside Government Buildings, Mr Varadkar said: “As we know from the last lockdown when you get into it it can go on a lot longer than you think and it can be quite slow to get out of it again.

“The view I would hear some times from retailers and restaurateurs is ‘let’s lockdown now and we can reopen and have a normal Christmas’ but I would be loathe to make that promise."

The Fine Gael leader said a second lockdown during the winter months would be difficult for both people and businesses.

“There will be businesses that maybe could survive losing three or four months revenue but not another period,” she said.

“I think for a lot of people who really felt the social isolation that occurred back in the spring that will be more difficult the second time around particularly when we are into winter with bad weather and dark nights,” he added.

Mr Varadkar said the public will want assurances on how long another lockdown will last and what the targets are for unravelling Covid measures once they are introduced.

He said the Government will consider the latest Nphet advice along with other factors before making a decision on changing levels.

“It has to take into account a number of things - obviously the public health objectives around saving lives and preventing transmission of the virus but also the impact on mental health, general health, impact on disability services, on education, on society on job and that’s what we will do,” he said.

He said the Cabinet is not due to meet today.`