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Ireland's premier Leo Varadkar re-registers as doctor during coronavirus pandemic

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By Shona Murray
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar   -   Copyright  Ludovic Marin, Pool Photo via AP

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will go back to work as a doctor to help out during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Taoiseach will join the Irish health service once a week while continuing to lead the government.

Varadkar is a trained doctor and worked as a general practitioner before being elected to a seat in the Irish assembly. 

"Many of [Varadkar's] family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way," a government spokesperson said.

Many members of the Irish prime minister's family work in medicine including his partner Matthew Barrett who is a surgeon at a hospital in Dublin.

Varadkar's father and mother, a doctor from India and a nurse from Ireland, met in London while working for the National Health Service (NHS).

He is said to be the first EU leader to join the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. He reportedly spent Sunday giving medical advice to concerned citizens over the phone.

There are nearly 5,000 cases of COVID-19 in Ireland and 158 have died due to the disease.