Regional lockdowns 'preferable' to country closing in event of more Covid-19 clusters, says expert

Lockdown could be enforced on a regional basis if clusters of coronavirus break out in certain areas, an infectious disease specialist has said.
Regional lockdowns 'preferable' to country closing in event of more Covid-19 clusters, says expert
Infectious disease specialist, Professor Sam McConkey, gave an example of a ‘cordon sanitaire’ being operated in Milan, rather than the whole of Italy closing down. File photo

Lockdown could be enforced on a regional basis if clusters of coronavirus break out in certain areas, an infectious disease specialist has said.

Professor Sam McConkey said while it is unclear where and when clusters of the virus will occur again, putting the country into full lockdown again would not be the best approach.

The Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons said: “We have seen in Milan when things were really appalling in northern Italy – towns there have a ‘cordon sanitaire’, which is the French word for a sanitary curtain.”

“It essentially means there is an area people can’t travel across in the event of an outbreak,” he told RTÉ radio's 'Today with Sarah McInerney' show.

Deaths involving Covid-19 in Ireland up to June 21, 2020.
Deaths involving Covid-19 in Ireland up to June 21, 2020.

“I hope we get more finessed or targeted restrictions so maybe people in Clones to Athlone would go back to phase one in the event of a major outbreak but the rest of the country would not.”

He explained that Germany saw a rise in some areas around Berlin where large numbers of people were working "cheek by jowl on a production line".

He said there have been several clusters in workplaces and homes in Ireland adding it is almost inevitable that there will be more here.

The challenge, he said, will be in detecting and isolating these clusters early.

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