Irish Examiner View: Trying to contain coronavirus has led to conflicting messages

There are increasingly mixed messages around coronavirus. A virologist yesterday said St Patrick’s Day parades should be cancelled to limit the spread of the virus. Prof John Oxford said Chinese authorities cancelled the Chinese New Year celebrations and Ireland should take this comparable opportunity. He warned that Italy offered a valuable lesson: “They sat there for weeks thinking they didn’t have a case... suddenly there was an explosion — they’re the new epicentre now.”

Irish Examiner View: Trying to contain coronavirus has led to conflicting messages

There are increasingly mixed messages around coronavirus. A virologist yesterday said St Patrick’s Day parades

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In Britain, supermarkets are preparing to feed the nation in the face of panic-buying. Supermarkets may scale back the variety of foods available to concentrate on staples. In Dublin, some Google staff have been told to work from home after a co-worker reported flu-like symptoms. There are, and will be, myriad variations of these responses.

Despite that the remaining Six Nations fixtures, except for the Ireland-Italy game, are expected to go ahead, although late changes cannot be ruled out. This optimism may be misplaced. Yesterday’s suggestion from Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin that the men’s European Championship, which is due to begin in 100 days across 12 cities may be less fanciful but it is impossible to be certain. Japan’s Olympic Games may be deferred from their July 24 start date.

These sports organisations may have commercial obligations that could shade their judgement but it would be reckless to drop our guard because of their optimism.

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