Health expert warns of year of 'rolling lockdowns'

A public health expert has warned that the current Covid-19 response in Ireland could lead to a year of rolling lockdowns.

DCU professor of health systems Anthony Staines will appear before the Dáil Covid committee this afternoon to push for a 'Zero Covid' island policy.

Prof. Staines warned that county restrictions could become inevitable.

“The disease is unpredictable and hopefully there won’t be too many of them but there is a real risk that we are going to spend the next nine months to a year with what you might call rolling lockdowns in different counties with all the associated disruption,” he said.

Prof. Staines warned that there are cases in a lot more counties than there were a number of weeks ago.

Zero Covid approach

He said New Zealand, China and South Korea have shown that a Zero Covid approach can work.

“New Zealand has demonstrated that the virus can come back but the difference between what has happened in New Zealand and what has happened here is that the virus has come back in one place.

“They seem relatively confident they know where the virus came from and they are ready to start driving it back down to zero in that area while the rest of the country continues with very limited restrictions.

“It is certainly feasible for us to do this. Clearly that is a decision for the Government to make and the meeting this afternoon is part of that discussion.”