'The next seven days are crucial to show that we’re capable of containing the virus'

'The next seven days are crucial to show that we’re capable of containing the virus'

The Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group and a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), Professor Philip Nolan has said that the next seven days will be crucial as an indication if Covid-19 is being contained.

Prof Nolan said that looking the rate of increase over the last five days, it had fallen to around 15% and this is a testament to how carefully people have observed the restrictions that have been introduced.

But it will not be enough to successfully contain the disease. Social distancing measures have had a very big impact – but the impact of measures taken last Friday will not be known for another seven days.

Prof Nolan said the experts do not know when the virus will peak, the objective is to suppress the virus so that the peak is very late and very low.

We will be living with virus for quite some period of time and will have to adapt to this, he said. This is a long, slow battle against a new disease which was unknown prior to last December. “We will have to adapt to slow its progress.”

On Newstalk Breakfast Prof Nolan said he had “a good level of confidence” in the matrix being used for testing. He acknowledged that not everyone who has the virus has been tested, but the figures to date give a good indication.

The situation was that between 20 per cent and 60 per cent of cases could go undetected because the symptoms are so mild, that was why it was important for everyone to take steps to self isolate. “That is the safe and correct thing to do.”

The next seven days are crucial to show that we’re capable of containing the virus. Then we will know where to go next in containing that suppression.

    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;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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