MICHEAL MARTIN has told the Irish people that they must "learn to live" with coronavirus in a stark warning about the what is to be the 'new normal'.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, the Taoiseach stressed that adapting to living alongside the disease, and that managing the social and economic ramifications of the pandemic was Ireland's "key challenge" in tackling Covid-19.
"The situation in relation to the pandemic is uncertain and we are learning," Martin said.
"The key challenge ahead now is to learn to live with COVID-19. That will be far more complex and difficult than shutdowns and so forth.
"We will assess where we are in October as we plan out for the following year and we will assess again in early 2021."
The Fianna Fail leader added that "no one can be certain" what the impact of COVID-19 will entail, and that the Irish economy will only operate at the "highest level possible" if transmission of the disease remains low.
"That’s why we're putting such a premium on reopening schools in September, why we're determined that every child can get back to school and why we’re working on the non-COVID illnesses within the hospitals," he added.
"We have to work to learn to live with COVID while keeping the levels low but making sure that there’s as near normal activity as possible.
"And that’s the challenge ahead of us."