Expert's coronavirus warning: 'Ireland’s future is not so different from Italy'

Expert's coronavirus warning: 'Ireland’s future is not so different from Italy'

An Irish-born expert in molecular evolution has warned that Ireland is like Italy a few weeks ago in relation to rates of infection with the coronavirus.

Professor James McInerney called on Wi-Fi providers to take down pay walls to make access free for all so that people could work and study from home.

“We are Italy from a few weeks ago,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

There is no reason to think that Ireland and Italy are so different. Ireland’s future is not so different from Italy.

Prof McInerney called on the public to take responsibility and for practical political decisions to be taken.

Now is the time to make plans, he said. Parents will have to decide who to ask to care for their young children if they are confined to bed with the virus and people should also plan to check in on elderly neighbours.

“The pinch is the bit where too many people are ill at the same time, we should try to spread it out.”

It would be important to reduce “the pinch” of unwell people, he said.

This could last months, the big part will be in the next couple of months. Most people will be fine.

Prof McInerney predicted that June and July will “be the worst of it”, but that the virus will still be in circulation for some time, even up to a year. He emphasised that most people, even if symptomatic “will be fine” and only a small number will require medical care.

Meanwhile, economist Brian Lucey has called on the government to move swiftly to put in place measures to help businesses that are going to be impacted by the coronavirus.

“There is no sugar coating this pill,” he said, also speaking on Morning Ireland. Businesses such as the hospitality sector “are going to be hammered” he predicted.

The government needs to move quickly, they need to meet this morning.

Ireland needs to “build social isolation,” added Prof Lucey. Large groups such as schools, colleges and universities need to stop congregating, he said.

Globally the chance of recession because of the virus is high, he said. “Ireland has more fat to lose. But this is not an economic issue any more, it’s a health issue.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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