'Any other county could be the next to lockdown', GP warns

A member of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) says any other county could be the ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.46 15 Aug 2020

Share this article

'Any other county could be the...

'Any other county could be the next to lockdown', GP warns

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.46 15 Aug 2020

Share this article

A member of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) says any other county could be the next one to have a localised lockdown.

Dr Nuala O'Connor, ICGP GP lead advisor on antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial resistance, says there are new coronavirus cases "in about 20 counties" around the country.

It comes as 67 new cases were reported on Friday.


Some 70% of the new patients were under the age of 45.

Dublin accounted for 18 of the new cases with 17 in Kildare, nine in Clare, five in Limerick with the rest detected in Carlow, Cork, Donegal, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Tipperary, Wexford, Wicklow.

Meanwhile Kildare, Laois and Offaly are entering their second week of a local lockdown.

Dr O'Connor told Newstalk Breakfast: "I think the most important thing to look at is actually the five day average - we're running now at 75 cases per day on average.

"If you go back to June, it was 10.

"What we have seen is we've seen a very definite increase in COVID, particularly problems in Laois, Kildare and Offaly.

"But actually what is different now is that it's in about 20 counties around the country, so I think any other county could be the next one that perhaps had to have restricted movements.

"It's a message to us all, and I suppose a wake-up call, that this virus has not gone away.

"The good thing is we know how to stop it spreading, and the most important thing is for people to reduce their social contacts and to avoid poorly-ventilated, crowded indoor spaces.

"Things like house parties, public venues where when you go in and you think 'Gosh, there's a lot of people here, people don't seem to be wearing face coverings, tables seem to be close together - this place does not feel safe'.

"If it does not feel safe, turn around and walk out because it's not safe".

On clusters in certain sectors and plants, she said: "People get the virus, not the meat plant or the factory, so it's the people who are working there.

"And those people have households that they live with, they have friends that they socailise with, so it's the people spreading the virus within the community".

"We also know that the virus is spreading through gatherings of people - so house parties, people getting together, people not observing that two metre distancing and spending a lot of time close together - that's how the virus is spreading".

She added: "More people are in close contact with more people, and that's how the virus spreads.

"This virus spreads if you spend more than 15 minutes within two metre distance of somebody who has the virus.

"So it's sitting chatting at a party socialising with others.

"So what we're advising people to do is, obviously we want to continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have, but keep your social circle limited - and stay with people and places where you know that you're going to be safe and you can observe that two metre distancing."

Dr O'Connor said the other important element is if people do develop symptoms, to get in touch with their GP and get a free test.

She said: "I think what we're doing is the correct approach at the moment, because it's always a balance of trying to keep the economy going, we need to get our schools open - and at the same time trying to protect the vulnerable in our society and also trying to be careful that we don't overwhelm our hospital system.

"We knew as we gave people back more freedom that we were going to get more cases.

"What we want to do is to avoid what has happened in other countries where the cases get completely out of control".

Main image: Gardaí attached to Leixlip conducting checkpoints on the N4 at the Kildare/Meath border. Picture via @GardaTraffic on Twitter

Share this article

Read more about

Coronavirus Dr Nuala O'Connor ICGP Kildare Laois Local Lockdown Offaly

Most Popular