The latest figures on Covid-19 infection rates in Louth are ‘going in the right direction’ but ‘what is needed now is maximum suppression’, Sinn Féin’s Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.
The Dundalk TD was speaking after it was revealed that Louth now has an incidence rate of 1259 per 100,000 population as of January 23, while the average rate across the State stands at 840.
However, figures up to January 18 show that there was a 14-day incidence rate in Dundalk South of 2962.8, more than double the State average for the same period.
Louth had the third highest incidence of Covid-19 in the State as of last weekend.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘While it looks like we are going in the right direction, infection rates remain extraordinarily high in Louth, particularly in Dundalk South.
'It is very worrying that the British variant of Covid-19, which seems to be more transmissible and perhaps more deadly, is becoming more dominant here over the last couple of weeks.
‘It has been very difficult for families, businesses and everyone in the community during this third lockdown but I would urge everyone to continue to do their very best to help supress the virus by staying at home and avoiding contact with people as much as possible’.
The Louth TD said he had been contacted by a number of sectors of the local health service seeking clarity about the vaccination programme.
He said there needs to be ‘transparency and fairness’ with regard the vaccine rollout.
He also said the government and the EU ‘need to be robust in negotiations with pharma companies, particularly AstraZenica, about difficulties with vaccine supply’. He said: ‘We cannot afford to mess up the vaccine roll-out programme’.
And ‘respect and fair payment’ needs to be at the forefront of the government’s policy when it comes to student nurses, Deputy Ó Murchú told the Dáil last week during Sinn Féin’s motion on student nurses’ pay.
He said: ‘We request fair payment and respect for the people out there doing all the heavy lifting. The Government has the power to do this and it is straightforward.
‘We accept there are difficulties relating to vaccination but we want transparency, clarity and to ensure fairness in the process. Although €100 is not sufficient for the work done by student nurses, I request that the allowance be paid upfront. That request was made to me by student nurses at Dundalk Institute of Technology’.
Deputy Ó Murchú said the Tánaiste had told him that the upfront payment could be looked at and he would follow up with him about it.