Legally mandated quarantine should be introduced, says infectious disease expert

When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Professor Sam McConkey replied "Jacinta Arden for Taoiseach".
Legally mandated quarantine should be introduced, says infectious disease expert

The reopening of the retail sector when the country moves out of level 5 could be managed very safely, said Professor Sam McConkey.

Infectious diseases expert Professor Sam McConkey has called for the introduction of legally mandated quarantine for people who have contracted Covid-19.

This would be possible under the Health Act of 1947 which was used to halt the spread of tuberculosis, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

People who had tested positive for Covid-19 along with their close contacts would be legally obliged to stay in their home which would mean that restrictions could be lifted for the rest of society, added Prof McConkey.

The majority of people who had tested positive did behave as they should but there was a small minority who did not and they were a danger, he said.

"I don’t want to see a third wave in January or February."

There was a need to move away from blanket restrictions, he said. 

There should be more testing units, pop up testing centres which could be sent to an area where there was an outbreak.

More accelerated testing and detailed follow up to identify contacts would make it easier to control outbreaks, said Prof McConkey.

There should also be rapid access to GPs and public health officials should be ready to go to an area or a premises where there is an outbreak to help managers or owners.

The reopening of the retail sector when the country moves out of level 5 could be managed very safely, he said.

"We can buy and sell things without Covid going out of control. If it is done properly there does not have to be an increase in the risk of transmission."

With regard to sporting events, he said it was not the games themselves that were the problem, it was the celebrations afterward.

With the space in large stadiums, it should be possible to manage entry and exit and spectators could then be seated well apart.

When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Prof McConkey replied "Jacinta Arden for Taoiseach".

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