Covid-19: Donegal restrictions show Ireland has 'let its guard down' Cork GP warns

Dr Mary Favier says a large number of the cases confirmed in Donegal in recent days originated in people’s homes and were not community transmissions.
Covid-19: Donegal restrictions show Ireland has 'let its guard down' Cork GP warns

President of the Irish College of General Practitioners, Dr Mary Favier: "We’ve had an underfunded and under-resourced health system for many years, and unfortunately we're now paying the price." Picture Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

In the last two to three weeks, Ireland has "let its guard down" as regards the spread of Covid-19. 

That's according to the President of the Irish College of General Practitioners, Dr Mary Favier. 

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, Dr Favier said that the resricitons imposed on Donegal last night, which will come into effect from tonight, were "not surprising."

Dr Mary Favier said a large number of the cases confirmed in Donegal in recent days originated in people’s homes and were not community transmissions. "They can be tracked to a source," she said. 

She said that the cases seen in Donegal and elsewhere didn't come from re-opened schools but from households and family gatherings and events.

She said: “It's extraordinary that this is down to things like weddings, communions, leaving cert, parties.

You can understand in a way - parents see events like these as important in a child’s life, and they make exceptions.

"But the virus doesn’t discriminate."

Dr Favier said that people across Ireland needed to consider what we can do on a daily basis, to do out part to slow the spread of the virus. 

Asked whether she was confident that Ireland's health system was ready for the winter months, which are typically the most challenging, that communities needed to help stop cases of Covid-19 getting to hospitals.

She said: "We’ve had an underfunded and under-resourced health system for many years, and unfortunately we're now paying the price.

"In September, we’re as busy as we usually are in January or February."

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty: "It is difficult, but I know that the people of Donegal have kept the virus at bay for a long time, but it shows how quickly this can get a grip in your community." Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty: "It is difficult, but I know that the people of Donegal have kept the virus at bay for a long time, but it shows how quickly this can get a grip in your community." Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Also appearing on the programme, Sinn Féin finance Spokesperson and TD for Donegal South West, Pearse Doherty, said the restrictions imposed on Donegal were justified.

He said: "Nobody can argue with the sudden escalation in numbers in Donegal.

It is difficult, but I know that the people of Donegal have kept the virus at bay for a long time, but it shows how quickly this can get a grip in your community.

Mr Doherty said he agreed with Dr Favier's comments that more needed to be done to limit cases coming from households.

Asked how big of an issue cross border movement of people between Donegal and Derry was, Mr Dhoerty said that Donegal and Derry were "the same as anywhere else."

Mr Doherty said there was a degree of confusion in Donegal last night, in terms of the messaging from the Government and health officials. 

He said some people in the county were unclear as to whether the restrictions came into effect last night, when they were announced, rather than at midnight tonight. 

"The message for anybody in Donegal is, tonight isn’t a target, we need to limit our social interactions immediately and we need to do all the things the health experts are telling us to do," he added.

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