Health Minister Simon Harris speaking to Bryan Dobson on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland
Further to repeated calls from politicians and health experts for people to maintain “social distancing” of two metres, and suggestions that further restrictions on people’s movement will be put in place on account of the coronavirus, Health Minister Simon Harris told Bryan Dobson on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland:
“We did see, over the course of this weekend see scenes of large gatherings, the one in Glendalough perhaps might have been the one that most people were talking about.
“I’m very pleased that the council stepped in there and said ‘look, we can’t properly socially distance here, we’re shutting down the car park, we’re shutting down the food premises. That’s the sort of decisive action that needs to be taken…
“To be very clear to everybody in Ireland today, you need to abide by the social distancing, that means there should be two metres between you and other people.
“If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be operating. Tomorrow the National Public Health Emergency team will meet. We’ve been very clear, myself and the Taoiseach, we won’t be making decisions based on kind of Twitter trends or political populism, we’ll follow the public health advice.
“Tomorrow Tony Holohon’s team will consider if there are further recommendations to be made to Government and I quite frankly expect that it’s likely we’re going to be receiving further recommendations from them…
“…we know that the two metres needs to be abided by and perhaps we know that there are some places where that hasn’t been possible to happen. So perhaps greater guidance in relation to playgrounds and public spaces could be useful as well and perhaps greater supports and guidance for businesses too…”
Paul Cullen, in today’s The Irish Times, reports that 40,000 people across Ireland are waiting for a coronavirus test.
Mr Cullen reports:
The HSE is now acknowledging people are waiting an average of four to five days to get tested; add in at least another two days for the swabbed sample to be processed and results reported back to the patients, and that gives an average delay of a week.
This is bad news for a system allegedly following the World Health Organisation advice to “test, test, test”. It is also of concern that it has taken so long for the system to admit to the delays, after journalists were last week being fobbed off with non-specific answers to their questions.
…The real problem is that the delays in testing are causing knock-on delays in contact tracing, the other essential element in the two-pronged approach used by Asian countries to successfully tackle their epidemics.
…The weekend has been dominated by discourse about a minority of people not observing social distancing rules. In reality, we are more likely to need a lockdown as a result of misfiring testing and contract tracing systems than because people chose to take walks on beaches and in parks.
Coronavirus: Delays in testing and tracing are the real problem (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)