IRELAND’S Covid-19 lockdown has been extended for three weeks to Tuesday May 5 – and measures won’t all be lifted at once after that date.
The Taoiseach had previously set an initial deadline of Easter Sunday for lifting the restrictions.
However, a day after Ireland reported a further 28 deaths from coronavirus, Mr Varadkar called on the public to continuing adhering to the rules requiring everyone to remain indoors unless purchasing groceries, medicine or exercising.
While he acknowledged the likely frustration many are facing over this period, he was keen to stress that their efforts were “saving lives”.
“Because the vast majority of people have heeded the advice of the experts we have been able to interrupt the spread of the virus, we have been able to shelter the most vulnerable and protect them,” he said.
“Your sacrifices are making a difference, we have slowed the spread of the virus considerably but unfortunately we have not stopped its spread.”
Varadkar added: “We all know people who are suffering and grieving at this time, too many have died and sadly more will die and get sick before this is over.
“So today’s message is that we cannot be complacent and we cannot lose focus.
“What we’re doing is difficult, but it is making a difference and we have to keep going. We need to persevere and we need to maintain our discipline and resolve.
“The restrictions we introduced two weeks ago were set to expire on Sunday.
“Today, the expert recommendation is to extend them for further three weeks until Tuesday May 5.
“The Government has accepted this recommendation.”