The Taoiseach has issued a direct appeal to third-level students to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 ahead of the reopening of colleges next week.
Micheál Martin made his appeal this morning as he again expressed concerns about the rising number of cases in Cork and in other counties showing worrying trends including Waterford, Louth, Wicklow, Kildare, and Galway.
Mr Martin said cities like Cork and Galway - both university cities - have started from a low base but “incidence rates are growing very fast”.
But he said the public still has time to do what’s required to avoid the region moving to level three of the government’s restrictions.
“We still have time to prevent this from happening and the best way to do that is to follow the public health advice both individually and collectively,” he said.
“We are receiving warnings. We can nip this and prevent this from happening by adhering to the very basic guidelines that ultimately determine the spread of the virus or not.
“UCC and CIT have strong protocols and guidelines and the Union of Students in Ireland are cooperating with the Minister for higher education in that regard.”
He suggested that given the county’s size, NPHET could recommend additional restrictions in urban areas like the city, based on the various figures and trends at a particular moment in time, while parts of the county could remain at level two.
In the interview on the Opinion Line on Cork’s 96fm, he said that following the extensive testing of children in recent weeks, there is a positivity rate of just 0.5% which he said suggests that children are not transmitting to other children in school settings.