Breaking News..Varadkar: Reopening schools, childcare facilities 'among safest things' to do

The Taoiseach has said that the emerging evidence suggests that reopening schools and childcare facilities over the next couple of months is "among the safest things" to do.

However, he said that it needed to be done so safely.

Speaking at a contact tracing centre in Dublin city centre, Leo Varadkar said: "I think there is a lot to learn about the virus and we are learning more about the virus all the time.

"But if you take for example what HIQA has said today and what Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization said to me and the Minister for Health today... the emerging evidence is that among the safest things that we can do over the next couple of months is to reopen our schools and to reopen our childcare facilities to allow children to return to education and to return to normal life."

Mr Varadkar said that it was encouraging that there is growing evidence that children are the least risk from the virus and that they do not appear to be super spreaders.

"I think that is very significant," he said.

In addition Mr Varadkar said that everyone wanted grandparents to be able to hug their grandchildren and said that "assuming everything went in the right direction it will be one of the actions that will be possible over the course of the summer".

Responding to the HIQA report, the Minster for Health said that "any report that helps us is welcome" but he added that we were still dealing with a virus that we are learning more about every day and therefore "evidence is inconclusive". Simon Harris said that while he understood that grandparents miss their grandchildren and children miss their friends, the public health advice had not changed, and the advice is still to stay at home except in exceptional circumstances.

However, he said he hoped this could be revised in the coming days.

In relation to the possible easing of restrictions on Monday, Mr Varadkar said that "everything was going in the right direction" but that a decision will be made at a Cabinet meeting on Friday.