Coronavirus: Health chief warns that return to stricter lockdown measures can't be ruled out

Coronavirus: Health chief warns that return to stricter lockdown measures can't be ruled out
Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn: 'We can’t rule out a second wave here in this country, we can’t rule out an increase in cases.'

The possibility of returning to stricter lockdown measures if cases in the virus begin to increase cannot be ruled out, the acting chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Ronan Glynn was speaking at the Monday night briefing of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The majority of the population believes there will be a second wave of the virus, new research carried out by the Department of Health suggests.

A further six cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday, but no further deaths linked to Covid-19 were reported to the Department of Health.

However, the public health team expects there could be an increase in the number of cases confirmed today as cases tend to be lower on Mondays following a lag over weekends.

“We can’t rule out a second wave here in this country, we can’t rule out an increase in cases,” Dr Glynn said. 

“All we can do is respond quickly, robustly, decisively where we see an issue arising.” 

“We have a real opportunity to continue functioning in a relatively normal society. 

"Where we’ve gotten back to is relatively a good place. To maintain that, we need to keep the disease where it is now. We need people to come forward quickly if they have symptoms.”

Healthcare workers who have been at the front line since March are exhausted, according to Rachel Kenna, the chief nursing officer at the Department of Health. 

They have seen the first-hand effects of the virus, and have dealt with increased anxiety and stress, she added. 

The public must follow public health advice around physical distancing, face coverings, and handwashing to help avoid a second wave. 

“The impact of any increase in cases will be hard on healthcare workers, who have already given so much to keep us safe this year," she said. 

Dr Sumi Dunner of the ICGP said: "There is no blame in contracting the virus. Please stay alert and look out for common symptoms such as a cough or a high temperature.

"If you suspect you have the symptoms, isolate yourself from other people to contain the virus and come forward for testing by contacting your GP as quickly as possible."

“Testing helps us identify, isolate and contain the virus. It helps to keep the numbers low in our communities." 

Over the last two weeks, 270 new cases of the virus have been reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre. 

The median age of these cases is 34-years-old, with almost 70% of these cases confirmed in people younger than the age of 45. 

On Monday, 20 counties reported new cases; 55% of these were in Dublin, 10% in Kildare, and 6% in Cork. 

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