Winter restrictions could return as Varadkar warns ‘COVID will be with us forever'

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Winter restrictions could return as Varadkar warns ‘COVID will be with us forever’
© Provided by Extra.ie

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned that COVID-19 will be ‘with us forever’ as he also admitted that winter restrictions could return.

On Friday evening, an additonal 2,466 cases of COVID-19 were reported. 457 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalised, of whom 90 are in intensive care. The five-day moving average has now risen above 2000 cases per day.

Speaking from Limerick on Friday, the Fine Gael leader noted that he didn’t want to ‘create any worries’ about Christmas, but could not rule out restrictions being reintroduced in the coming months.

Winter restrictions could return as Varadkar warns ‘COVID will be with us forever’
© Provided by Extra.ie Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned that COVID-19 will be ‘with us forever’, urging the public to get their vaccines and booster shots. Pic: Julien Behal Photography

‘We want to get through this winter without imposing restrictions,’ said Mr Varadkar at the opening of the Edwards Lifesciences plant.

‘That’s why we’re asking people to work with us, to get vaccinated, get a booster if they are over 60 and wear a mask as appropriate.’

The Tánaiste went on to say that coronavirus is ‘going to be with us forever, it’s going to become an endemic virus that is seasonal in nature.’

It’s increasingly clear #Covid will be with us forever ⁦@rtenews⁩ ⁦@LeoVaradkar⁩ pic.twitter.com/TizOXXR0Kb

— Cathy Halloran (@HalloranCathy) October 22, 2021

Despite this, he added that both the Government and NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) ‘do not feel it’s appropriate to keep people locked down forever.’

Winter restrictions could return as Varadkar warns ‘COVID will be with us forever’
© Provided by Extra.ie The Tánaiste went on to say that coronavirus is ‘going to be with us forever, it’s going to become an endemic virus that is seasonal in nature.’ Pic: Fran Veale

Adding that it ‘would not be fair’ to put fears in people’s minds about the Christmas holidays, the Minister for Enterprise said: ‘I have always expressed the view we need to get through another winter before this is safely behind us.

‘We cannot keep the country locked down forever. It’s going to be difficult, but I think we can handle it.’

The Tánaiste’s comments come as the country adapts to the latest ease of COVID-19 restrictions.

Winter restrictions could return as Varadkar warns ‘COVID will be with us forever’
© Provided by Extra.ie The Tánaiste’s comments come as the country adapts to the latest ease of COVID-19 restrictions. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

From Friday, October 22, nightclubs and late bars can reopen for the first time since March 2020, with further restrictions on pubs and restaurants lifted.

COVID-19 contact tracing and digital vaccination certificates are still required and face masks must still be worn in some circumstances.

All restrictions on civil and religious ceremonies or gatherings in private homes and gardens have also been lifted.

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