People need to ‘keep their eye on the prize’ of winning the war against Covid-19, Deputy Ruairi Ó Murchú has said, as figures show that Louth continues to push down the 14-day incidence rate.
The figures, published by the HSE on Friday, show that Louth’s 14-day incidence rate has fallen to 131.1. The State-wide rate is 144.9 and Louth has now the tenth highest level of Covid-19.
With all primary and second level students back to school on Monday, the Sinn Féin TD said that Louth people ‘need to continue what they’re doing – social distancing and minimising contacts’.
He said: “Louth has shown how, with perseverance and a lot of sacrifice over the last few months, that the incident rate can be reduced dramatically. We need to keep our eyes on the prize of winning the war against Covid-19.
“We are getting there, but people need to remain vigilant, particularly now that the schools are returning, there is a slight easing of restrictions. People are allowed to travel within their county and 20kms from their home”.
But, he added, the government needs to ‘move quicker and be clearer’ about changes to mandatory hotel quarantine.
Deputy Ó Murchú said: “There are a number of questions that need dealt with including what happens to fully vaccinated people who are coming in, what constitutes essential travel and how Erasmus students and others will be facilitated.
“This has to be done taking into public health expertise.
“We are coming late to mandatory hotel quarantine as a policy and had we done this earlier there would have been greater benefits and we would be in a better place.
“The whole point is that it reduces the numbers travelling into Ireland, but the government needs to be better at dealing with the inevitable anomalies that happen, through engagement with public health experts”.
And he revealed that the EU’s ‘vaccine hunter’ Thierry Breton is to appear before the Oireachtas European Affairs committee on April 20, following a suggestion from Deputy Ó Murchú.
Above all, the TD said, the health service needs to ensure that there is the capacity and the personnel to ramp up vaccinations as more doses flood into State in the coming weeks.
About 929,000 doses are expected into the State this month, with 1.25 million in May and 1.75 million in June.