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Martin pours cold water on 'circuit breaker' lockdown that Varadkar says may be needed in future

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Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Photo: Maxwells

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Photo: Maxwells

Leo Varadkar and Micheál Martin. Photo: Maxwells

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has poured cold water on the idea of a so-called 'circuit breaker' lock-down of the kind Tánaiste Leo Varadkar suggested may be needed at some point in the future.

Mr Martin said: "I’m not sure that’s a runner quite frankly" and that any such proposal would have to be "teased out"

His remarks come after Mr Varadkar wrote about the prospect of a second lock-down in the Sunday Independent.

Mr Varadkar said thinking of such a scenario "breaks my heart" and wrote of the difficulty of re-opening

Referring to his controversial appearance on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live last week - where he outlined strong objections to a Nphet proposal that the country immediately go into a Level 5 lock-down, Mr Varadkar said he had made a point not to dismiss the 'circuit break' idea.

He said: "This would represent a short, hard, lock-down to knock the virus on the head again and reduce case numbers to a manageable level...

"It may well be needed at some point.

"No other country in Europe has tried this."

Mr Varadkar added: "It would be an experiment but it could work. In Israel it seems to be producing results."

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He also said some people have suggested a 'circuit break' could "save Christmas" but added: "I am not so sure. The problem is that when you're in full lock-down it's difficult to get out of it."

This evening Mr Martin told RTÉ News: "We produced a plan not so long ago, a graduated plan with levels to give people an expectation of what could come next."

"A circuit breaker in my view is experimental. I’m not convinced any such move would be a temporary move and I think we need to be clear with people on that.

"The idea of locking things down for two weeks and being able to come back as normal - I’m not sure that’s a runner quite frankly.

"But that needs to be teased out if that is being articulated, and debated."

Mr Martin said Ireland is at Level 3 restrictions adding: "There’s a chance, an opportunity here.

"If you look at the figures in Dublin the figures haven’t grown exponentially over the last number of days...

"Across the country in my view it also can have an impact but it fundamentally depends on our behaviour."

He said: "We should all behave as if we have the virus. We should reduce social contacts, mask up and through those measures I think we can put a halt to the growth of this virus."

Mr Martin also said there is the possibility of regional restrictions under the Government's 'Living with Covid-19' plan.


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