Concerns raised about Government’s age-segregated approach to Covid-19

ireland
Concerns Raised About Government’s Age-Segregated Approach To Covid-19 Concerns Raised About Government’s Age-Segregated Approach To Covid-19
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Digital Desk staff

Concerns have been raised by leading public health experts that the Government’s approach to managing the spread of Covid-19 is moving towards one of age segregation.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended older people limit their movements and time outdoors in response to an increase in cases in the last two weeks, following an emergency meeting yesterday.

New restrictions may be placed on older and vulnerable people as the Cabinet holds an unscheduled meeting to consider the public health recommendations this afternoon.

I do have a kind of a worry that we’re heading into some sort of age-related apartheid approach to Covid-19, and I’m not sure what the strategy is.

Dr Gabriel Scally believes older people have already played their part in tackling the virus: “I’m not sure what further restrictions for older people, what the gain might be, but I can see how reduction of house parties – stopping house parties – would be valuable.

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“I do have a kind of a worry that we’re heading into some sort of age-related apartheid approach to Covid-19, and I’m not sure what the strategy is.”

When we say shielding, what we really mean is ‘lockdown for you, but not lockdown for me,’ and the evidence is that shielding doesn’t work, the nursing home fiasco is evidence of that.

Another health expert, immunology Professor at Trinity College Dublin Tomás Ryan, says he is concerned about the impact of extensive cocooning: “I understand that sometimes you need to do it in the short-term, but when you start relying on shielding, it’s essentially a losing strategy because it’s a euphemism.

“When we say shielding, what we really mean is ‘lockdown for you, but not lockdown for me,’ and the evidence is that shielding doesn’t work, the nursing home fiasco is evidence of that.”

CEO of Age Action Ireland, Paddy Connolly, says restrictions on older people raise a number of issues: “There are very significant concerns about peoples’ wellbeing and mental health.

“But also there’s the compliance in terms of whether people believe that the risk is proportionate to what they’re being asked to do.”

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