Irish Examiner View: Let’s not risk a new veto on home visits

Irish Examiner View: Let’s not risk a new veto on home visits
Queues this morning outside Penneys in Limerick. Picture: Press 22

It is not hard to imagine that health officials, advisers, and especially those working at the coalface of the pandemic might have been bewildered by the queues from early morning yesterday outside Penneys stores.

They might remember their seven colleagues who died because of Covid-19 as they try to figure out what was so necessary, so urgent that social distancing obligations were spectacularly cast aside so people could buy T-shirts, shorts, and summer clothes.

It is necessary to rejuvenate the economy but that must be done in a safe, sustainable, and aware way, if the possibility of a second wave is to be minimised.

That objective is especially relevant in nursing homes where there have been many Covid-19 deaths.

The vast majority of nursing home residents have survived but they have not enjoyed a visit from relatives or friends for months.

They, and their loved ones, have endured a level of isolation that is truly challenging, no matter how kind and attentive nursing home workers have been.

In that context, the suggestion from Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, yesterday morning that people may be able to visit relatives in nursing homes from next week, is one of the most significant milestones on the road to recovery.

Should that happy moment be reached there will be tears of joy and relief; this cohort has endured exceptional challenge.

Everything possible to try avert a new isolation must be done, even if that means wearing last year’s T-shirts.

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