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Tags: Coronavirus | ireland | shelter in place | freedom | prime minister

Ireland PM Tells Citizens to Give Up Their 'Freedoms'

the world is wearing a facemask with coronavirus floating around in space

By    |   Saturday, 28 March 2020 01:33 PM

Ireland's new strict lockdown rules amid the global coronavirus pandemic has Prime Minister Leo Varadkar asking citizens to give up their "freedoms."

Irish citizens can only leave to shop for groceries, brief individual physical exercise, or to make absolutely essential family visits.

Varadkar said Friday at the announcement of shelter in place orders until April 12, as Sky News reported

"Freedom was hard won in our country, and it jars with us, to restrict and limit individual liberties, even temporarily. But freedom is not an abstract concept. We give it meaning every single day – in the way we live our lives – and in the decisions we take willingly to protect our loved ones.

"So, I am asking people to give meaning to our freedom and liberty by agreeing to these restrictions. Restricting how we live our lives so that others may live.

"I am asking us for a time, to forego our personal liberties and freedoms for a greater cause.

"Tonight I am appealing to every man, woman and child in our country to make these sacrifices – not out of self-interest but for each other.

"To begin each day knowing that every single imposition, every inconvenience, every irritation will save lives and help our health service cope.

"The whole world is suffering during this pandemic, and Ireland is no different.

"What happens now is up to each one of us."

Ireland hopes to be in a position in two weeks to tweak or remove some of its new highly restrictive coronavirus-related measures if it can slow down the rate of admissions to intensive care units, Health Minister Simon Harris said Saturday.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland rose to 2,121 on Friday from 1,819 a day earlier, with three more deaths bringing the total fatalities to 22.

"Will we be in a position on April 12 where life in Ireland can return to normal? Absolutely not," Harris told national broadcaster RTE on Saturday. "Let's be honest with each other, these are measures that we are going to need continue to work at.

"Do we hope to be in a position in two weeks' time to say that we've made progress and some of the measures can be tweaked, removed, changed? Absolutely.

"The measures that we put in place last night were so significant that they cannot be kept in place for too long. You cannot ask people to sustain this for a very long time."

Seventy-one patients were in intensive care units (ICU) by Thursday, a near doubling in three days. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned Friday that ICU units would be at capacity within a few days given the rate of the spread.

There was some confusion over who could and could not go to work Saturday with the government yet to publish an updated list of essential services. All construction bar any healthcare-critical projects would be shut down, European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee confirmed to national broadcaster RTE.

Police mounted a major nationwide operation, with officers on horseback patrolling parks to ensure people were not gathering outside their household units and traffic police stopping cars to check journeys beyond 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) were essential trips only.

With so much economic activity halted, the head of the body representing Irish banks said lenders were processing more than 28,000 three-month mortgage breaks for customers whose incomes have been cut by the coronavirus outbreak.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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Ireland's new strict lockdown rules amid the global coronavirus pandemic has Prime Minister Leo Varadkar asking citizens to give up their "freedoms."
ireland, shelter in place, freedom, prime minister
Saturday, 28 March 2020 01:33 PM
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