‘Time to scrap Covid restrictions model!’

TD warns of spring and summer lockdowns

Local Independent TD Denis Naughten says it’s time to scrap the current Covid-19 restrictions model and replace it with one based on Irish data in order to reopen as much of society as possible while preventing further lockdowns in 2021.

Deputy Naughten said that too many of the current restrictions are based on European advice: “We have reports again this week that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and its members are looking to Europe for answers as to what will be opened for Christmas here in Ireland.

“We need to use Irish data to inform Irish decisions and not continue to rely on NPHET advice, which is based on what the EU health authorities are saying. Managing the virus in France and Germany is very different to a rural island in western Europe,” he said.

The Roscommon TD highlighted an article by UCD professor, Dr. Paddy Mallon, in the Sunday Independent earlier this month, which called for authorities to make decisions based on Irish data.

He added: “The problem with lockdowns is we do not know which bits work and which do not. While they do contain the spread of a virus, they also impose huge costs on communities, businesses and, most importantly, individuals.

“The costs imposed by the recent move to Level 5, including a major increase in unemployment, the removal of social outlets for most of us, and the possible permanent closure of many businesses, were insisted upon by the National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET.

“Each of these measures is having a direct impact on the mental health of everyone in this country and we need to see an opening up of society in the run up to, and during, Christmas”.

Deputy Naughten did however warn that based on the current Covid-19 wave model researched by Dr. Philipp Hoevel and a team at University College Cork and presented to the HSE in June, Ireland will have entered its third wave of Covid-19 infection by February of next year.

“If we do not have proper systems in place,” he said, “we could have another lockdown on St. Valentine’s Day and our fourth lockdown over the June Bank Holiday weekend. This cannot be allowed to happen”.