June 4, 2020 / 12:09 PM / a month ago

Ireland seeks health officials' backing to speed up reopening plan

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Leo Varadkar speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland March 24, 2020. Steve Humphreys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s government has proposed speeding up the reopening of parts of its economy to the country’s top health officials and will make a decision on Friday, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

Ireland is set next week to enter the second of five phases that constitute one of Europe’s most conservative plans to roll back a coronavirus lockdown. Hairdressers and hotels are not due to open until the fourth phase in late July, with pubs to follow in the final phase on Aug. 10.

“We have made proposals to the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) about bringing things forward from phase four to three and three to two. NPHET (Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team) is considering those proposals and government will make a decision on that on Friday morning,” Varadkar told parliament.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Jon Boyle

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