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Ireland can’t take bringing coronavirus under control for granted, says top professor


Ireland can’t take bringing coronavirus under control for granted, a top professor has said.

Sam McConkey, Head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, warned that the number of new cases dropping does not mean the pandemic is over.

The stark warning comes after the World Health Organisation says there has been a record increase in global coronavirus infections – rising by 183,020 in just a day.

It brings the number of cases worldwide to more than 9.1m.

Speaking to Sarah McInerney on RTE Radio One, Professor McConkey said: “What we’ve achieved has been a great success but you can’t take that for granted because many organised countries like Britain and America have not gotten to where we’re at and they are getting worse every day.

“Keeping the Irish economy with the minimum amount of damage possible from the Covid-19 outbreak is a really important priority.

“That is because, if we are all poorer, we will be unhealthy and if some of us are poorer, we won’t have the social unity or the social equity that allows us all to work together – five million of us – to buy into this control programme.

“So, my view is, we need to look after each other and we need to keep the industries, as much as possible, up and running.”

Prof McConkey also called for a bigger uptake in people wearing masks or face coverings while out and about.



Prof Sam McConkey

He also suggested that if there was an outbreak in an Irish town, there could be a cordon sanitaire, which is a quarantine line that prevents people from entering or leaving the area.

He added: “We need voluntary cooperation for something like this, however.”

Speaking yesterday, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was clear that the pandemic is still accelerating.

He said: “We know that the pandemic is much more than a health crisis, it is an economic crisis, a social crisis and in many countries a political crisis.

“Its effects will be felt for decades to come.”

In Germany, employees at the country’s biggest abattoir have been fenced off after around 1,000 tested positive for Covid-19.

Prof McConkey added: “The increase of cases in Germany was not a sudden rise across the country but has occurred in a number of specific regions where large numbers of people were working cheek by jowl on a production line, perhaps sharing crowded accommodation and going to work when they were sick.

“Some of those people might not have sought medical assistance until later.”

The reproductive rate in Germany also spiked to 2.88 from below 1 – an increase of almost triple over the weekend.



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