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Ireland steals a march on UK on coronavirus lockdown phase out

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Unlike British leaders Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has demonstrated decisive leadership during the coronavirus crisis

As the UK struggles to establish consensus over easing the coronavirus lockdown, the Republic of Ireland is doing exactly the opposite by setting out a consensual roadmap out of the crisis.

To that end, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Leo Varadkar, has announced a five-stage road map to “reopen the country in a slow, phased way” from May 18 onwards.

Addressing the Irish nation live on television yesterday evening, Varadkar proclaimed: “So on the 18th of May, Ireland begins to reopen and begins that journey to a new normal”.

The five-stage roadmap proposed by the Irish government is based on two-to-four week cycles, with progression to the next stage dependent on sustainable success with the previous one. 

The first phase, which begins on May 18, will see the reopening of some outdoor public facilities, amongst other measures.

Phases two and three, at the beginning and end of June respectively, will see the easing of restrictions on non-risky retail activities, including those on the high streets.

Phase four, which begins at the end of July, will see the gradual rehabilitation of higher risk services, such as hairdressers. 

Finally , phase five, scheduled to begin on August 10, will see the lifting of the ban on larger social gatherings in addition to the freeing up of practically all aspects of the economy, meaning that workers across all sectors will be allowed back into the workplace.  

With a comprehensive Irish phase out of the lockdown in place, it remains to be seen if the UK adopts some or all of features of this model.

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