He continued: "We’re a connected country. We want people to be able to travel again for business and holidays.
"But one real risk for us is that the virus could come back into the country from America, Britain, France other places where it isn’t under control the way it is here.”
Speaking during a virtual event hosted by the Washington-based Atlantic Council, Mr Varadkar said Ireland had been hard hit by COVID-19 but had now got the number of new cases to below ten on most days.
But a looming economic crisis created by the pandemic is causing serious concern for the new government Dublin.
Mr Varadkar said: “For us the economic situation is very worrying.
“If you include subsidised employment and government schemes and so on, we’re well over 20 percent unemployment now.
"We had full employment in February so it’s a very serious economic crisis and one that’s very unequal.
"It’s the private sector workers who have lost their jobs whereas the public sector did not.
"And maybe younger people and migrants in precarious employment lost their jobs, whereas people working for big companies, multinationals, in the professions, in the public service, have been largely unaffected financially.
“The country was very united during the pandemic.
"The economic crisis that is coming could be very divisive."
Mr Varadkar, whose new post as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Business makes him responsible for job creation, said Ireland supported the EU-wide coronavirus recovery fund.
But he said measures taken by member states to restore their economies will be mostly unilateral.
He said: “We had a budget surplus for the last two years, but this year we’ll have a deficit in the region of 10 percent of our GDP.
"We had to do that, to put in a social safety net, so people don’t fall into poverty, and now to get our businesses open again and growing again.
"But the fear is always there of a second wave that could set us back.”
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