Great Britain

Irish PM Leo Varadkar re-registers as a doctor to help fight coronavirus on the front line one day a week

IRISH leader Leo Varadkar has re-registered as a doctor and is offering to work on the frontline once a week to help in the country's fight against Covid-19.

Varadkar, who was a doctor before becoming a politician, signed back up to the medical register last month at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Ireland, the Irish Sun reports.

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Varadker offered to go on the frontline with the HSE, Ireland's public health service, once a week in order to help in the battle against the virus.

A spokesman for the Irish government told the Irish Sun: “Dr Varadkar re-joined the Medical Register last month.

“He has offered his services to the HSE for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice.

“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service.

"He wanted to help out in a small way.”

The news comes the same day Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a London hospital to receive treatment for the virus.

Number Ten said the admission was a "precautionary step", taken because Johnson had failed to shake off fever symptoms after ten days in isolation.

He is understood to be staying overnight, with officials saying he will stay in hospital "as long as necessary".

DOC CAREER

Varadkar studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin before going on to work as a doctor for seven years, working in a number of hospitals around Ireland before turning to politics full time.

The former Health Minister is the son of an Irish nurse and Indian doctor and his partner, Dr Matt Barrett, is a cardiologist.

Earlier today, HSE chief executive Paul Reid said 70,000 applications have been received in response to Ireland's call for more help.

Of these, 27,000 are "self-identified" with relevant work experience and 820 have been progressed over the last week.

'CRUCIAL WEEK'

Meanwhile, Ireland is aiming to almost double coronavirus testing to 4,500 a day.

It comes at the start of what Health Minister Simon Harris has described as a "really crucial week" in the Covid-19 pandemic.

He made the announcement this morning but cautioned the supply of the chemicals for the testing reagent remain a "significant worldwide challenge".

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces two-week lockdown to stop spread of Covid-19

He revealed that due to an increase of laboratory capacity, testing will increase from an average of 2,500 to 4,500 a day.

Testing had dropped to 1,500 a day late last week due to issues with the availability of the testing reagent.

Ireland currently has almost 5,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 158 people confirmed to have died.

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