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More reasons for hope than any time in last year, says Glynn

admin | February 28, 2021
more-reasons-for-hope-than-any-time-in-last-year,-says-glynn

There are “more concrete reasons” for hope and optimism now than at any time over the last 12 months, Ireland’s deputy chief medical officer said.

Marking one year since the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Ireland, Dr Ronan Glynn said people’s lives have changed in ways that was never thought possible.

“More than 6,300 people on our island have lost their lives with Covid-19,” he added.

With Ireland in its third lockdown and facing six further weeks of restrictions, Dr Glynn warned that cases of coronavirus are far too high.

A year of #COVID19 in Ireland 1/2 pic.twitter.com/85vrAckNAr

— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) February 28, 2021

“Last spring, we met the challenge presented to us with collective enthusiasm,” he added.

“Ironically, while that enthusiasm has understandably waned and gone, there are more concrete reasons for hope and optimism now than at any time over the last 12 months.

“We still have a way to go. Our case numbers are still far too high and we must continue to do all we can to suppress this disease over the coming weeks.

“But if we can do this successfully through March, our focus will begin to turn to what we can do, rather than what we cannot.

“Yes, we need to be cautious and yes, there will be challenges over the coming months. But together, through science and solidarity, we will get through this and this pandemic will end.”

Dr Glynn also paid tribute to health workers.

A year of #COVID19 in Ireland 2/2 pic.twitter.com/dIWzYEiPE2

— Dr Ronan Glynn (@ronan_glynn) February 28, 2021

“The response of colleagues across all parts of our health system has been remarkable,” he said.

“We should be extraordinarily proud, and take great heart, from the dedication and resilience which has been, and continues to be, shown by everyone involved in this response.

“Almost all sectors and communities have experienced loss and have been tested in ways unimaginable to us this time last year.

“This pandemic and the public health response to it has had a profound impact on lives and livelihoods.

“But it has also demonstrated the best of us as a people, working together and buying in as a collective to what has been necessary to protect one another.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Government could introduce so-called “green cards” that allow people who have been vaccinated to access services including gyms and cinemas.

The system is currently being used in Israel, where citizens who are inoculated against Covid-19 have been provided with a green pass, allowing them to access gyms, restaurants, hotels and concerts.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government will examine the system and whether it has been successfully implemented in other countries.

“It’s something that we could consider, but I think we can only consider it when we’re confident that it’s worked in Israel,” Mr Varadkar told Newstalk FM.

“It’s too soon for that in Ireland – we still only have a relatively small proportion of the population vaccinated and, bear in mind, even though you’re vaccinated you can still carry the virus in your nose and can still pass it on to other people.

Good news. We were worried about test positivity, which seemed to have plateaued, but the 5-day average test positivity from public health laboratories has fallen from 8% to 6% in one week; and the positivity across all labs has been under 5% for 5 days (4.2% today) pic.twitter.com/Wq1v6dVA8b

— Professor Philip Nolan (@President_MU) February 27, 2021

“You’d want to have a critical mass of the population vaccinated before we even considered those kind of measures.

“By the time we get to that point, which would be some time in June when about half the population will have at least one dose at that stage, we will know whether the experience in Israel has worked out or not.

“The IT system that we have does allow us to produce a vaccine certificate, both in hard copy and digital.”

Mr Varadkar also defended the Government’s slow approach to the easing of restrictions.

The phased reopening of schools and childcare will see some pupils return to the classroom on Monday.

Junior and senior infants, as well as first and second class in primary schools, will be among the first back. Leaving Certificate students will also return to the classroom on Monday.

The Government has yet to set a date for the reopening of the economy and society.

On Sunday a further six deaths of people who had tested positive for coronavirus were notified.

Another 612 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were also announced. As of 8am, there were 554 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 133 were in intensive care.

Meanwhile, as of February 25, 409,529 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland.

This includes 271,594 first doses and 137,935 second doses.

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