Ireland confident strict COVID-19 restrictions to be dropped in December

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past writing on a wall reading 'pick up your mask' during the government's highest level of lockdown restrictions, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in Galway, Ireland, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - The Irish government is confident that it will be able to drop some of the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in Europe on schedule in December following a sharp fall in infection rates, deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday.

“I think everyone is confident now that we will ease restrictions in December,” Varadkar told parliament.

Rules which have closed all bars, restaurants and non-essential retail and banned non-essential travel more than 5 kilometers from home are due to lapse on Dec. 1, though ministers have said less strict restrictions are likely to remain.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Toby Chopra