Irish PM Has Part-Time Job to Help Out With the Virus

Leo Varadkar re-registered as a doctor so he can assist one day a week during pandemic
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2020 9:55 AM CDT
For One Day Each Week, the Irish PM Will Be a Doctor
Leo Varadkar speaks to the media in Dublin on Feb. 9, 2020.   (Liam McBurney/PA via AP)

Before his career in politics, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was a medical doctor. Now, the coronavirus outbreak has spurred a return to his roots. The Irish Times reports that in March, the 41-year-old taoiseach registered once again to practice medicine, after a seven-year hiatus, when his country's health agency put out a plea for health care professionals who weren't currently practicing to assist in pandemic efforts. Per RTE, Varadkar will pick up one shift a week for the time being, reportedly doing phone assessments so other doctors can work on the front lines.

USA Today notes that people in Ireland who believe they've been infected with the virus are instructed to first get an assessment over the phone before heading to the ER. "Many of his family and friends are working in the health service," a spokesperson says. "He wanted to help out even in a small way." Varadkar has deep personal ties to the medical profession, in addition to his own background: He's the son of a doctor and a nurse; his partner, Matthew Barrett, is a doctor; and his sisters and their husbands are in health care. As of Monday, nearly 5,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Ireland, with more than 150 deaths. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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