Fianna Fail TD Jim O’Callaghan
on Newstalk, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan discussed the possibility of the country moving to Level 5 with host Pat Kenny…
“First of all it [the recommendation to move to Level 5] is advice. It’s on a decision by NPHET and any decision made in respect of this shall be made by Government.
However, I’m concerned that the manner by which we’re doing business at present, it’s not a good idea for the people of Ireland to hear, late on a Sunday evening, a leak from NPHET indicating that there’s a recommendation that the country’s going to go to Level 5, that we shouldn’t be doing business that way.
“NPHET’s job is to advise the Minister for Health. It’s job is to coordinate the health sector response to Covid. But it’s not an independent entity and it’s a group that advises the minister and it’s Government and politicians that will make decisions as to whether or not this country moves to a different level.
“Obviously the advice given by NPHET should be considered by Government and I know that the three leaders of the parties in Government are meeting NPHET today but I would be asking them what’s the reason for the inconsistency in the NPHET’s approach?
“They met last Thursday, there was no recommendation in respect of this. I’m also concerned that if Government are to go to Level 5, it would be completely disproportionate at this stage.
That we’ve to look to see where we are in terms of this pandemic. And I know what [Infectious disease expert] Porfessor Sam McConkey says, you know, we have to look ahead but in terms of assessing a pandemic, the primary way to do it, is you assess it by a number of steps and you assess it by a number of hospitalisations.
“To date, 1,810 people in the country have died of or with Covid and only 47 of them have been recorded as dying since the first of August so the terrible time for this country in terms of our failing in respect of Covid was the nursing home fiasco that happened in March, April and May when significant numbers of people died.
“The numbers are much lower now in terms of death.
“When you look at hospitalisations, Pat, back in mid-April, there were 881 people in hospital in this country who tested positive for Covid and on a particular day, the 15th of April, there were 155 people in intensive care. Today, there are 134 people in hospital and 21 in intensive care, so we’re nowhere near where we were in mid-April.
“If we go to Level 5 now, where do we go after that?
“Like the reality is, we had the lockdown, it reduces the numbers, we can’t eliminate this virus, and if people tell you ‘we’re going to get it to zero, we’re going to eliminate it from Ireland in the same way that St Patrick got rid of the snakes, they’re fooling you and they’re fooling the public.”
Earlier: What’s Going On?