Ireland could open pubs up 'county by county' - according to WHO

Ireland could open pubs up 'county by county' - according to WHO

IRELAND could be set to reopen up its pubs on a county by county basis, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Although a decision is due this evening on whether or not the country is to move forward into Phase Four of the reopening plan - which will see all pubs reopen - the WHO have warned that in fact the reopening method might be a little more localised.

Irishman Mike Ryan, who is executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, insisted that a lot will depend on case numbers and how well people in certain areas are keeping to the public health guidelines.

"It is a balance [reoepening pubs] and depends on people’s behaviour and how they adapt," Ryan said.

"You can use a much more localised strategy - by county, by province, whatever it is in the Irish context - but to do that you need very localised data and a localised response capacity."

Pubs in Ireland have been shut since mid-March, but those able to offer customers a substantial meal with their drinks were allowed to open at the end of June.

The rest - some 60% of the pubs across the country - have been forced to wait until Phase Four of the reopening plans begins.

It was initially scheduled for July 20, but the date was pushed back following a worrying rise in Covid-19 cases in the wake of pub reopening at the end of June.

It was announced that the earliest date the country would move to Phase Four would be August 10, but the government has insisted that this was never a guarantee that the move would be green-lit for August 10 precisely, and that the date could continually be delayed upon revision.

As mentioned previously, a decision on Phase Four is due this evening, but no guarantees have been made by the government.

Ryan continued: "Quite frankly, there are no correct answers. Everyday it changes and the government must remain flexible."