Need to balance easing of restrictions and ongoing Covid risk, says leading Cork GP

Need to balance easing of restrictions and ongoing Covid risk, says leading Cork GP

 Dr Mary Favier, President of the Irish College of General Practitioners. File Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The Covid lead for the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) has warned that any easing of restrictions has to be balanced between the risk of Covid and the risk of the harm from ongoing restrictions.

The Cabinet Covid sub-committee will meet this evening to consider what measures can be safely eased next month.

Non-essential retail, hairdressers, museums and libraries look set to reopen, while hospitality may be permitted to reopen from June.

Dr Mary Favier, who is also a member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), said that the ICGP would like to see "a cautious easing of restrictions." 

Dr Favier said she understood the impact of restrictions on the public.

"The changes announced on Tuesday to the vaccine roll-out involving pregnant women and people who had already experienced Covid were welcome changes," she told Newstalk this morning.

However, she cautioned that supply remained an issue, and that the logistics involved would be challenging for GPs. 

Of the 1.4m vaccinations to date, half had been administered by GPs, she said.

She said that patients had seen how busy practices were and she urged them to be “patient” as GPs continued to do “the heavy lifting.” 

Dr Favier said GPs had noticed an “uptick” in activity in the past week, with more referrals for Covid testing among patients displaying symptoms.

“We’re sitting somewhat with our fingers crossed hoping that that doesn’t reflect into anything other than increased vigilance. Which is inevitable," she said.

“People have been very careful and that’s great. But we’re in a very balanced position in the next couple of weeks and we need our vaccines to catch up and not have our behaviours get ahead of it."

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