Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has expressed regret at the issue of blame for the spread of Covid-19 which he says is “creeping” into Irish society.
People are blaming American tourists, young people and migrant workers he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Mr Varadkar said he understood the frustration of those who had seen their business close again under restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.
The advice from Nphet had been that a local lockdown was needed as it was important that the virus did not spread in the community and that it was contained.
Mr Varadkar pointed out that 100 workers in meat plants had died in the US.
Fortunately that had not been the case in Ireland, he said.
This was a continuing problem and there was a need to get back to basics and to contain the amount of Covid-19 cases in the community.
Mr Varadkar also pointed out that under public health legislation the Health Service Executive (HSE) has the power to order the closure of Carroll's Cuisine in Tullamore.
An ‘outbreak’ team is working at present to assess measures necessary at the Carroll plant which remains open while three other factories in the Kildare, Loais and Offaly closed following the discovery of clusters.
When asked about the issue of Direct Provision and the number of Covid-19 cases in such centres, Mr Varadkar said that it was Government policy to end Direct Provision but to do was not going to be easy with the housing shortage.
On the same show, Portarlington GP Dr Sumi Dunne called on people not to ignore their symptoms and if they have any concerns they should telephone their GP.
“Please do not ignore symptoms. GP’s doors will remain open, call ahead so we can take measures,” she said.
It was vital to suppress any possible spread of the virus in the community.
She commended the people of Kildare, Laois and Offaly for their community spirit. She had noticed that more people had been seeking tests in recent days. This was as a result of the good job being done by public health officials in contact tracing.
Dr Dunne also welcomed the new regulation that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory in public settings.
“It is an excellent initiative.”
The wearing of face masks in retail settings becomes mandatory from today.
Regulations to enforce the compulsory wearing of face coverings on public transport came into effect last month.
People should wear face masks when in locations where they cannot maintain a 2m distance, Dr Dunne explained.
She also warned that it was important to wear a face covering properly ensuring that nose and chin were covered. Pulling down a mask to the neck while talking or eating was not effective and could lead to infection, she said.
The latest figures show that Ireland recorded 68 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday.
No new deaths were reported.
46 of the cases came from Kildare, Offaly and Laois where local restrictions were put in place on Friday.
People in those counties are not permitted to travel outside their home county.
“We continue to see cases linked to the outbreaks in counties where additional public health measures have been introduced. This was expected and we will continue to monitor closely,” said Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer.
- additional reporting from Digital Desk staff