'We have not won this fight' - Leo Varadkar announces modest easing of restrictions on Covid-19 lockdown

Roadmap to the easing of restrictions outlined

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

coronavirus covid-19

Leo Varadkar update on the Covid-19 restrictions

The Government is to extend lockdown restrictions until May 18 imposed to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus but will ease them in some minor ways.

Extending the restrictions, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also revealed details of a phased easing of the lockdown over a three week period up to conclude on August 10.

The Government is to expand the 2km limit on how far people can travel from home for exercise. It increases to 5 kms.

People aged 70 and over who have been cocooning will also be given the green light to leave their homes within limits. They can leave their homes for a drive or walk only if they make no contact with others.

"We have not won this fight," the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Friday, May 1.

He said restrictions relaxed too soon would see everything achieved lost and see us go back to square one.

"We need two more weeks to weaken the virus further so it doesn't have the chance to make a comeback," he said.

He said the plan is to ease restrictions over three weeks in five phases from May 18. It is estimated that the phases could take three weeks to implement depending on whether the virus could be contained. 

All going to plan, restrictions will have been eased by August 10.

The success of the phases will be assessed as times goes by.

On May 18, some outdoor work will be allowed to recommence, hardware and repair shops will be allowed to open. People will be allowed to meet in small groups for physical exercise and to meet family and friends.

"It has been worthwhile, it is working, thousands of lives have been saved," said the Taoiseach.

Read also: DETAILS OF THE ROADMAP TO UNLOCK COVID-19 PARALYSED IRELAND

Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization said today that Governments need to take a measured approach to lift restrictions and cautioned that strict measures should be reimposed should the need arise.