Ireland should reintroduce lockdown restrictions to avoid second wave - ECDC
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Ireland should reintroduce lockdown restrictions to avoid second wave - ECDC

IRELAND SHOULD consider reintroducing lockdown restrictions or risk a second wave of the pandemic, experts have warned.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) yesterday released a report on a risk assessment surrounding the resurgence of the disease which is being found in multiple countries across the EU.

"As countries regained control of transmission and alleviated the burden on healthcare, many measures were relaxed or removed to allow for a more viable way of life with the virus in circulation,"the report reads.

"Subsequently, a recent increase in COVID-19 cases has been reported in many EU/EEA countries."

While the ECDC acknowledges that many countries now have the capacity to test mild or asymptomatic suspected cases of the virus, and that will reveal more incidences of infection, "there is a true resurgence in cases in several countries" because of social distancing measures being eased.

The report suggests that any country experiencing a surge in cases "could consider re-instating selected measures through a phased, step-wise and sustainable approach" while taking into consideration the rate of infection, local services and lessons learned during the previous lockdown.

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Ireland is not fully out of its first lockdown, having stayed in Phase 3 of the reopening since 29 June, with cases remaining too high to reopen 'wet pubs', which were due to open up on 20 July and 10 August.

It goes on to say that while "it is natural for people to become fatigued and reduce compliance with public health measures", it is vital that the public continue to comply as the virus is still present and will remain in the community.

In Ireland, the large spike in cases can be mostly traced back to outbreaks in meat and food processing factories in Kildare, Offaly and Laois, and the three countries have gone back into partial local lockdown in order to reduce the risk of community transmission.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn has said, however, that he cannot guarantee that the localised lockdowns will end in two weeks as planned.

He also did not rule out further local lockdowns being implemented in other areas of the country at a later date.