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Confidence about easing lockdown in Ireland is growing, says Varadkar

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Leo Varadkar announced plans for exiting lockdown on May 1 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Leo Varadkar announced plans for exiting lockdown on May 1 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Leo Varadkar announced plans for exiting lockdown on May 1 (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

The Irish government is "increasingly confident" the first phase of reopening the country can begin on May 18, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil.

Mr Varadkar said that ministers will make the decision on the easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday May 15.

Under the government's roadmap up to four people from different households can meet outdoors and sports facilities like golf courses would be able to reopen.

Garden centres and hardware stores where social distancing can be practiced would also be in line for reopening.

Mr Varadkar said that the sacrifices made by the Irish people has flattened the curve in terms of the spread of the disease.

He cautioned that the "Stakes are too high to rush things now or we risk everything we have achieved".

He said cleaning hands and physical distancing must continue and efforts must be made to identify coronavirus cases and contacts.

Mr Varadkar said 215,000 tests have been carried out with a coronavirus-positive rate of 3.7pc which is continuing to trend downwards.

He said that of 3,000 hospitalisations, 78pc of people have so far made a full recovery.

Independent.ie