Tighter restrictions needed to avoid second lockdown says health expert

Tomas Ryan from Trinity College Dublin says Ireland could end up in a situation "quite similar to what happened in Melbourne or Aberdeen". Image: Brian Lawless

Ireland could experience a situation like Melbourne or Aberdeen if Covid-19 restrictions are not altered according to a health expert.

On Wednesday, 50 new cases of the virus were reported by the Department of Health, the majority of which were cases in people below the age of 45.

The Australian state of Victoria, and its capital Melbourne is still in lockdown following a spike in coronavirus, while in Aberdeen, Scotland, people are being confined to within eight kilometres of their homes.

Associate professor in Trinity College Dublin, Tomas Ryan says there needs to be a change before the situation gets out of control.

"In a couple of weeks we could be in a situation quite similar to what happened in Melbourne or Aberdeen and no one wants to see that. Even beyond the next couple of weeks, as we move into September, we deal with bigger challenges than we have been facing, when schools open and pubs open.

"As winter comes and flu season comes, we need a more robust system to be doing this. We cannot be just walking a tightrope. We need proper guard rails."

Rising Figures

This concern is shared by many health experts, who have deemed Ireland's increasing rate of confirmed cases daily as alarming.

In the past week and a half, since July 27th, the Republic has averaged 42.7 new confirmed cases per day. The worst day in that period being July 30th, with 85 cases.

Following advice from Nphet, the Government decided earlier this week to delay the further lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, including the reopening of pubs that do not serve food.

The decision was taken in light of recent spikes in confirmed cases, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar saying the reopening of schools in September was the absolute priority.

Figures released yesterday also showed that Dublin is no longer the epicentre of the disease in Ireland, as six other counties recorded a higher seven days incidence than the capital according to Nphet.