Ireland's prime minister to work as doctor amid coronavirus pandemic

Ireland’s prime minister plans to work one day a week as a doctor to help amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Leo Varadkar studied medicine and trained to be a doctor at King’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin. He worked as a doctor for seven years before entering politics, according to Reuters.

In March, Varadkar re-registered as a doctor to practice one day a week with Ireland’s Health Service Executive, his office confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY.

“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way,” the statement said.

Varadkar’s father was a doctor and mother a nurse. According to the Irish Times, his partner, sisters and their husbands all work for the country’s health services, too.

The prime minister will help with phone appointments, the Times reported. People in Ireland who believe they may have COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are to call for a first assessment, rather than immediately go to an emergency room, to help slow the spread, according to the newspaper.

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Varadkar was one of some 50,000 medical professionals in the country not currently working in the field who re-registered with the country’s health services after a call for more medical workers, the Irish Times reported.

Nearly 5,000 people in Ireland are known to have tested positive for the new coronavirus and more than 150 people have died, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Varadkar has been a member of Ireland’s parliament since 2007, and in 2017 become the country’s youngest prime minister at 38.

Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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