A Monaghan GP has called for the Government to consider a two-week 'circuit breaker' to halt the spread of Covid-19 which was now “out of control”.
Dr Illona Duffy told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that her practice had noticed in recent days an increase in the level of calls from symptomatic patients, a few of whom were “quite sick.”
The age demographic of patients was much wider this time when compared with the first wave back in the spring, she said. This time it was "pan generational" from babies to adults, to older people.
People had been meeting family members and spread the virus while they were asymptomatic, she said.
Dr Duffy predicted there would be a dramatic rise in cases in the coming days and she warned that this would put pressure on GP services and access to general, non-Covid, services would be compromised.
Ireland recorded its highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began on Tuesday. 1,546 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed as well as nine additional deaths.
There has also been a sharp rise in hospitalisations, with the number of people in hospital with the virus topping 400 yesterday for the first time since May.
A two-week circuit breaker could see a sharp drop in cases, Dr Duffy suggested.
In a tweet on Tuesday night Dr Duffy said: “I dread the Covid figures in coming days.
"It's clear from the level of patient telephone consultations who report being symptomatic close contacts, that Covid-19 is presently out of control. Is it time for a 2 week complete lockdown to stop the spread? I think so.”
A previously unscheduled meeting of the Government will be held later today after the record high in cases and hospitalisations.
The Cabinet will discuss whether to completely shut down the country for up to six weeks or even longer.
Ministers will consider whether to re-introduce the 5km limit on non-essential travel and a ban on household visits, and whether to shut down non-essential retail.
Speaking this morning, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said that we are living in tumultuous times and that the Government will have to respond to the situation of growing Covid numbers.