Cork now one of four counties under lockdown consideration

Cork now one of four counties under lockdown consideration

Stephen Donnelly said that although Cork, Wicklow, Galway and Louth have cases steadily rising, he does not foresee any announcement being made before Thursday. 

There are four counties under consideration for additional lockdown measures, according to the Minister for Health.

Stephen Donnelly, speaking to RTÉ on Sunday said that although Cork, Wicklow, Galway and Louth have cases steadily rising, he does not foresee any announcement being made before Thursday when the National Public Health Emergency Team are due to meet.

Donegal and Dublin have both been ordered into increased local restrictions due to their rising cases and it is widely expected other counties will follow suit as the country battles a second wave of Covid19.

"There are four counties which I think looked at very carefully, they are Cork, Galway, Louth and my own county of Wicklow," he said.

"But right now, there are no plans for NPHET to meet earlier, to make any recommendations to government at this time.  

"They meet every Thursday, that may change, but right now they have no plans to meet.

"What happens in each case is the national public health emergency look at a wide variety of measures.  

"They look at not just 14 day rates but the seven day rates but they look at where is it coming from, and is it rising quickly? Is it a small number of cases where we've deployed public health to the ground? 

"And it's actually well contained, and so forth so we leave it to the experts to come back, they look at a wide range of things."

Mr Donnelly said that although it appears Dublin as stymied their rise in cases through their "local lockdown," it remains too early to tell.

"We will be cautiously optimistic as we must always be, but it is very early days, what we want to see happen now, this week is that seven-day rate come down at each and every day," he said.

"I have no doubt that people in Dublin have heard this loud and clear in the vast majority of cases, people are doing exactly what they need to do just by limiting their interactions."

Mr Donnelly added he did not foresee Christmas going ahead as normally planned for a lot of families who have relatives in nursing homes.

"What I would like to see is able to go in and visit their relatives," he said.  

"It is heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking for the residents, and heartbreaking for the relatives, heartbreaking for the staff who are dealing with this every single day we had so many cases of people standing on their tiptoes looking in windows, and other relatives are very sick and in some cases died.  

"So, what I really love to see is this virus suppressed, to the point that the most liberal visiting regime that we could have safely is brought in."  

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