Irish Examiner view: Good decision on prison visits

Irish Examiner view: Good decision on prison visits
File photo. Picture: Irish Times

If there was any doubt that we lived in a strange old world before coronavirus united the world almost in an unprecedented way, it can be dismissed, as we certainly live in a strange old world today.

The response of societies are varied as is their effectiveness. Sweden, at last, has conceded that its earlier laissez-faire policies were overly optimistic; America’s top infectious disease expert yesterday warned Congress that cases continue to rise and that political polarisation defines reactions to public health recommendations.

In Spain, Barcelona’s El Liceu opera house reopened on Monday with a concert to an audience of 2,292 potted plants.

In Ireland, the debate about how we responded continues.

Nursing homes were recently reopened to visitors and what must have been an ordeal for some residents and their families came to an end.

That INMO figures show that 8,018 health workers, 1,600 categorised as nurses or midwives, were infected with Covid-19 while at work suggests that a fundamental reimaging of how nursing homes are run and funded has become unavoidable.

Prisoners have been denied visits since March 27 but last evening the Irish Prison Service announced that phased visits will resume in a month’s time, on July 20.

This extends prisoners’ isolation but the risk of introducing Covid-19 to a prison population, already held in over-crowded, stretched conditions, is simply too great to contemplate.

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