Friday September 24, 2021

Ireland announces blueprint for living with virus

September 16, 2020

DUBLIN: The Irish government has unveiled its blueprint for living with Covid-19. The Cabinet signed off on the medium-term plan for living with coronavirus, which includes different levels of restrictions, ranging from one to five. Tighter restrictions have also been announced for Dublin, which has seen a continuous rise of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

The new plan for restrictions will come into effect from midnight on Tuesday. The plan is broken into five alert levels and will be used for the next six months. Irish Premier Micheal Martin said: “Through a collective effort, the virus and its impact was first controlled and then reduced significantly. The threat posed by the virus continued to change, and policies had to change in response.”

He added: “This is a plan which gives clarity of each of our responsibilities. It includes concrete measures and shows how we can limit impact of the virus while keeping schools open and protecting and expanding employment. The plan is broad and comprehensive. Protecting public health remains an absolute priority.

The whole country is at level two restrictions.”

He said this will continue for another three weeks. The Taoiseach said that additional measures will be introduced in Dublin following advice from public health experts.

It comes as Green Party leader and Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan restricts his movements, as a member of his household awaits a Covid-19 test. He attended the Cabinet meeting via teleconference on Tuesday.

On Monday, the Cabinet sub-committee met acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn to discuss the final details of the plan. The latest coronavirus figures from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) showed 208 positive cases, of which 108 were in Dublin. No new deaths were reported.

Dr Glynn said the NPHET has decided to reduce the period of isolation from 14 to 10 days for confirmed cases from the onset of symptoms. “In addition, it has been agreed that nasal swabs are an acceptable alternative to nasopharyngeal swab for use in children in the community,” he said.

“This will hopefully make testing a simpler process for children going forward. Covid-19 is an evolving pandemic and NPHET is committed to adapting advice and guidelines based on emerging evidence.”