What is a Zero-Covid strategy and should Ireland adopt it?

What is a Zero-Covid strategy and should Ireland adopt it?

WHILE the world grapples with ways to combat and ultimately defeat the coronavirus once and for all, a number of tactics have been offered up.

One such tactic is a Zero-Covid strategy, but people seem to be split over how effective it would be.

Calls for adopting this tactic were heard in the Dáil earlier this month, but not everyone is sold on the idea.

But what exactly is a Zero-Covid strategy, and would it work in Ireland?

Here's everything you need to know:

What does Zero-Covid mean?

Zero-Covid is a strategy of combating coronavirus with so-called "maximum suppression".

It essential means that measures will put in place to tackle the virus until there are zero cases evident in one particular place.

It involves the complete elimination of community transmission of Covid-19.

How can it be achieved?

The primary approach to Zero-Covid is very strict lockdowns. Restricting people's movement and shutting the country's borders are the most obvious ways of eliminating transmission of the virus.

But if the rules aren't implemented properly and aren't adhered to by the public, the strategy won't work.

Which countries are using this approach?

The likes of New Zealand, Australia, South Korea and Hong Kong have all implemented successful forms of a Zero-Covid strategy.

New Zealand in particular were very quick to completely suppress the virus, and have acted swiftly and sternly when any cases have been identified.

The entire country was thrown into seven days of lockdown earlier this month when just three cases of Covid-19 were diagnosed.

What are the drawbacks of the strategy?

The main drawbacks to a Zero-Covid strategy are the ways in which people's personal freedoms are severely restricted.

Harsh lockdowns can be effective at reducing the spread of Covid-19, but can be tough on people's mental health.

The economy also takes a significant hit due to the closure of businesses and the

Should Ireland adopt it?

Some have suggested that because Ireland is an island, a Zero-Covid strategy would work effectively, citing New Zealand as an example.

However, many Irish politicians have stressed that such a strategy would be impossible to successfully implement due to the open border with Northern Ireland.

They argue that unless the UK adopts the same approach, fully achieving Zero-Covid will be impossible.

In October, the Taoiseach said the strategy wasn't "realistic" because of our "geographic location and proximity to Britain and mainland Europe, and with two jurisdictions on our island", and nothing has been said recently that suggests he will change his mind on this.