Action needed to prevent possibility of Covid surge before summer, prof says

Action Needed To Prevent Possibility Of Covid Surge Before Summer, Prof Says Action Needed To Prevent Possibility Of Covid Surge Before Summer, Prof Says
Prof Anthony Staines said action was needed for a 'reasonable chance' at 'modest things' like domestic tourism. Photo: Getty Images.
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Action is needed now to prevent the possibility of another surge of Covid-19 before summer, according to a public health expert.

Professor of health systems at DCU Anthony Staines described the current state of Ireland’s public health contact tracing system as “embarrassing”.

Steps needed to be taken now for the population to have a “reasonable chance” at “modest things” such as domestic tourism this summer, he said.

“We have relied on lockdown as our only method of control for 12 months, and that has got us to where we are now,” Prof Staines said.

“Now it could have been worse. Ireland has done kind of mid-table amongst wealthier countries. But it could have been better.

“But if we want to get a reasonable chance at having very modest things, like holidays in Ireland this summer, we really need to act now.”

In the thick of it


Prof Staines said up to 2,000 more contact tracers should be hired to assist in driving down infection rates enough for domestic travel by summer.

The professor is a member of the Independent Scientific Advocacy (ISAG), which has advocated for a strategy of zero Covid in Ireland.

On Saturday, health officials confirmed a further 543 cases and 16 Covid-related deaths in the State.

Earlier on Saturday, a leading immunologist urged people not to lower their guard as Ireland is “still in the thick” of its fight against Covid-19.

Covid-19: 16 deaths and 543 cases in the Republic
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Professor Luke O’Neill told RTÉ Radio’s Brendan O’Connor programme he shared concerns over the slight upward trend in daily figures.

However, he said the vaccine rollout offered more hope for the months of May and June.

“The data from Israel continues to amaze,” Prof O’Neill said of the country which has seen one of the world’s most advanced vaccine rollouts.

“Once we get to May, June, and the risk of death and hospitalisation is massively lower [due to the vaccination of vulnerable people], then we can begin to think, oh hang on, what can we loosen up here,” he added.

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