Ireland’s prime minister re-registers as doctor to help fight COVID-19

Ireland’s Prime Minister and former medical professional Leo Varadkar has reportedly re-registered as a doctor to join the fight against the novel coronavirus, according to Ireland’s national public broadcast service, RTE. 

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RTE reported that Varadkar worked as a doctor for seven years before leaving the profession to seek a career in politics in 2013. 

"Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way," a spokesperson for Varadkar’s office told RTE. 

Leo Varadkar At The European Council

Leo Varadkar the Taoiseach of Ireland during a press conference - media statement briefing at the European Council EU leaders Meeting on October 17, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium with main topic Brexit. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Varadkar re-registered as a health care worker with Ireland’s Health Service Executive in March and will reportedly work one shift per week. 

Varadkar will work with potential COVID-19 patients over the phone in order to free up staff to work on the front lines fighting the virus, the spokesperson added. 

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The steep rise in coronavirus deaths appeared to be leveling off Monday in hard-hit New York, echoing a trend underway in Italy and Spain, while the crisis escalated alarmingly in Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care after his condition deteriorated.

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Johnson, 55, was conscious and did not immediately need to be put on a ventilator, his office said. The prime minister is the world's first known head of government to fall ill with the virus.

Deaths in Britain climbed by more than 400 Monday, for a total of nearly 5,400. Sunday was especially bleak, with more than 600 deaths — more than Italy recorded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.