Taoiseach says zero Covid approach would mean 'permanent lockdown'

ireland
Taoiseach Says Zero Covid Approach Would Mean 'Permanent Lockdown' Taoiseach Says Zero Covid Approach Would Mean 'Permanent Lockdown'
Micheál Martin says a zero Covid approach would see Ireland still 'open to the potential of the disease coming back in again'
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Taoiseach Micheál Martin has reiterated his stance against a “zero Covid” approach to managing the pandemic.

Asked by The Cork Echo if he stands by the Government's decision to continue living with Covid, Mr Martin described the alternative as “a permanent lockdown”.

He said a zero Covid approach would see Ireland still “open to the potential of the disease coming back in again because of our geography.”

He added: “We’re going for prolonged suppression of the virus now. We have vaccines now which will help to give us choices in time.”

A strategy of zero Covid involves the complete elimination of community transmission of the virus, before restrictions can be lifted and life can return to “normal”.

This would see the complete reopening of society and the economy — from schools to workplaces to mass gatherings — provided there are strict controls in place to prevent the virus re-entering the community, such as quarantine facilities for travellers.

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It contrasts with the current Government strategy of “Living with Covid-19” which aims to suppress the virus through restrictions and lockdowns rather than eliminate it, and lifts restrictions as case numbers lower.

New Zealand is one of the countries that has adopted a zero Covid approach, and images and videos circulating on social media show events and music festivals taking place there.

However, the Taoiseach told The Echo it wouldn’t be possible in Ireland.

“The public health advice we’ve received has always been to the effect that zero Covid is a promise you could give but that you might never fulfill and we are not New Zealand in geography terms.”

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