/Leo Varadkar: Ireland ‘on track’ to reach key date for easing of restrictions | Buzz.ie

Leo Varadkar: Ireland ‘on track’ to reach key date for easing of restrictions | Buzz.ie

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says Ireland is “on track” to ease more Covid-19 restrictions next month.

Mr Varadkar said the country is on target to exit from certain lockdown measures on May 4.

It comes after 24 hours of turmoil for the Government and HSE over the vaccination programme here.

In a video message on Twitter, the Fine Gael leader sought to reassure the public that the nation remains on course for less stringent restrictions in a few weeks.

Under the government roadmap, from May 4, click and collect for shops and outdoor retail, for example, garden centres will return, while full construction will resume,  museums, galleries and libraries can open and the staggered resumption of personal services and religious ceremonies will begin.

“There’s been a lot of news in the last couple of days, you’ll have heard that the rollout of the Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine is being paused,” Mr Varadkar said.

“You’ll have heard that we’re getting more than half a million extra doses of Pfizer in the second quarter of this year.

“And also that some changes have been made in relation to the age groups that will receive the AstraZeneca vaccines.”

Despite this, he urged people “not to lose sight of the bigger picture”.

Mr Varadkar continued: “We see now for the first time this year, less than 200 people in hospital with Covid, less than 50 people in ICU, cases are falling, the R number is below one.

“In relation to the vaccine programme, we will receive and administer between three and a half and four and a half million vaccines in quarter two of this year, that’s April, May and June.

“And for that reason, the vaccine programme is on track.

“We’ll have to make some amendments and some changes, we’ve had to do that 25 times now since the programme began, but we’re still very much on track to meet our targets, between three and a half and four and a half million vaccines in the second quarter of this year.”

Here’s the latest on Covid-19 following today’s Cabinet and Vaccine Task Force meetings, in the week that schools went back and the 5k restriction was lifted: pic.twitter.com/GILFQvFqEz

— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 14, 2021

And Mr Varadkar added that we also remain on course for the further easing of lockdown next month.

He continued: “We are on track as well to ease restrictions on the fourth of May, so lots of things to be positive about, things broadly on track.

“Of course there’s going to be twists and turns, that was always going to be the case, but I just wanted to reassure you about those things.”

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said we are also on track to have 80% of adults vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of June.

However, he acknowledged that meeting the target of having more than 800,000 people inoculated in April would be “challenging”.

He added that there will be more “bumps along the way” as the vaccine rollout continues.