Immunologist Dr Tomás Ryan has said there is still a chance that Ireland can eliminate Covid-19 so that schools and businesses can fully reopen in the autumn.
Dr Ryan, Associate Professor at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology in Trinity College said that the pausing of the reopening was “a step in the right direction.”
The final phase of reopening was always going to be incredibly ambitious unless the country went for a zero Covid strategy, he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.
“A lot of publicans and restaurant owners appreciate that being at 50 per cent capacity for the next year-and-a-half to two years is really not an ideal way of doing business.
“The advantage of taking a zero-Covid approach or a near-elimination approach, as is being explicitly pursued in Scotland by Nicola Sturgeon, is that it allows you a situation where you can have 100 per cent capacity.
“I think a lot of people working in that sector would like to see the country take that approach where, if we really take control of this and take control of our borders, then we could have 100 per cent capacity in bars, restaurants and pubs and have no fears about schools reopening.
“That is a decision that would need to be taken by Government within the coming few weeks, but what is clear is that many of the noises they have been making in the past 24-hours, I think, have been extremely encouraging.”
The cautious approach being taken by the new Government was really welcome, he said. People needed to remember that there was no silver bullet for containing the virus.
“There is no one measure that is going to keep us safe and there is nothing that is going to make everything okay.”