Ireland’s Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, has announced he will reregister as a doctor to help fight the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.
Varadkar worked in medicine for seven years before entering politics, and his partner Matthew Barrett is also a doctor.
The Prime Minister comes from a medical family, with both parents working in healthcare.
He graduated as a doctor in 2003 and became a general practitioner in 2010.
Varadkar will now be working one shift a week assessing patients via telehealth for the Irish public health service, Huffington Post has reported.
“Many of his family and friends are working in the health service,” said a spokesperson.
“He wanted to help out even in a small way.”
The Prime Minister yesterday marked International Health Day by tweeting a thankyou to all healthcare workers.
He also reminded everyone of the importance of handwashing and staying home where possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
After publicly coming out as gay in 2015, Varadkar was last year named one of Queerty magazine’s Pride50 “trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people”.
With more than 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland, the country recently called for retired or unregistered doctors to return to work to help fight the virus.
Worldwide, cases are approaching 1.5 million, with around 6,000 confirmed cases in Australia.
As medical resources are stretched globally, the US has relaxed its restrictions on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, and Australia has been urged to do the same.
Many countries are under varying degrees of lockdown, with people asked or required not to leave home except for essential purposes.
Hospitals are encountering shortages of equipment, including personal protective equipment such as masks.
An all-star virtual concert live-streamed next weekend will help raise funds to provide equipment to healthcare workers.