Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a medical graduate, will work for the public health service once a week during the new coronavirus epidemic, a government spokesman announced Sunday.
Varadkar will offer “its services to the health service, once a week, within its sphere of activity,” the spokesperson said. According to the newspaper The Irish Times, Varadkar, who received a medical degree from Trinity College Dublin in 2003, will assess patients’ symptoms over the phone. “Many of his family and friends work in the health sector,” the government explained. “He wanted to help, even if in a modest way.”
The now Prime Minister worked as a doctor for seven years, until 2013, before leaving the profession to pursue his political career.
In March, shortly after the Covid-19 epidemic hit Ireland, the public health service urged health professionals who had stopped practicing to rejoin the system. Some 50,000 people have answered the call. According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health, published this Sunday, Ireland has registered 158 deaths related to the disease and 4,994 cases of contagion since the epidemic broke out.
Varadkar, 41, was elected Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in June 2017. He belongs to the Fine Gael party, of conservative and Christian Democratic ideology. The politician was the first openly gay man to hold that office in Ireland. The son of an Indian doctor and nurse, his partner, Matthew Barrett, is a cardiologist. His two sisters and his brothers-in-law also work as toilets.