We’re one week into Ireland’s phased reopening plan.
But while there are signs the slow approach is having the desired effect, experts are warning that any complacency regarding Covid-19 at this stage could have catastrophic repercussions down the line.
This morning, Minister for Health Simon Harris told RTE’s 2fm that we should find out if Phase One of the roadmap has been successful later this week. Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is due to make a decision on whether the country can roll out Phase Two of the plan, which would see more retailers permitted to open and travel restrictions extended to 20km, on June 8th.
A further four deaths and 57 new cases were confirmed by the National Public Health Emergency Team on Sunday. Any uptick in new cases could lead to lockdown restrictions being reinstated, delaying the next stage of the roadmap until it’s safe to proceed.
8 of last 9 days the number of new #Covid19 cases has been below 100. Today’s new cases = 57. This progress is thanks to YOU & your family. We now need to maintain it & work to carefully find ways of living alongside the virus by following our plan. Stay safe. We will get there
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) May 24, 2020
Meanwhile, Professor of Applied Pathogen Ecology at University College Cork Gerry Killeen believes that the current Covid-19 restrictions should remain in place as they are for at least two more months and four months if possible.
Mr Killeen, who has previously called for masks to made mandatory in public to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, told Cork’s RedFM he believes that the virus should be completely eliminated before moved are made to ease restrictions.
‘It’s a little premature’
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys also said it’s too early to consider reducing the 2m social distancing rule.
“It’ll be early next week before we start to see the data on whether the lifting of restrictions in Phase One has had an impact on the number of new cases.” Ms Humphreys told the radio show.
“Until we receive that data, it’s a little premature to start talking about moving away from two metres”.