A World Health Organisation Special Envoy on COVID-19 has said we all have to take responsibility for our own decisions when it comes to suppressing the virus.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dr David Nabarro said resurgences in the virus are “to be expected” around Europe as restrictions are lifted.
He said the responses to outbreaks in places like Germany and Poland in recent days has been “really strong and good.”
“The key thing is how well different nations in Europe will deal with these resurgences,” he said.
“If they can be kept small; if they can be supressed quickly and if people can do everything possible to actually make them as small possible, then it’s going to be reality fine.
“That is going to be the new reality that I have talked about before. It is about being sure that we can get ahead of this virus by defending ourselves against it.”
Dr Nabarro was speaking after the Government confirmed that quarantine restrictions will be lifted for a number of countries on a ‘green list’ in the coming weeks.
He said people will have to take responsibility for their own decisions when it comes to international travel.
“Every one of us is going to have to get used to making micro-decisions,” he said.
“We are having to feel our way into this; it is a whole new situation; we have never had anything like this before.
“So, we are trying to work things out about schools, about holidays and even about being social.
“I would say for the time being this is what it is going to be like. We are going to have to make each decision perhaps being ready to change if we hear something that scares us.
“So, if you are going to go to Greece for your holiday, just make sure you are keeping an eye on what is happening in the country coronavirus-wise.”
The Government has also announced plans to make face coverings mandatory on public transport.
Dr Nabarro said WHO advice on masks has been “very careful” since the outbreak began but noted that wearing a mask will protect the most vulnerable people in society.
“If I have got COVID, I might not know I have got it, but I could be really infectious,” he said.
“Suppose I go into a supermarket and I happen to cough and there is a till assistant nearby and she gets the COVID.
“She goes home and she gives the COVID to her mum or somebody like that. Her mum has got diabetes; her mum gets sick and dies. This is entirely my fault.”
Dr Nabarro said people have a responsibility to protect those around them when they are in shops, on public transport or at a care facility.
He said he understands that some people don’t view it as a “manly thing to do to wear a mask” but insisted they are an “important part of the whole puzzle.”
“Wearing masks; keeping a bit of distance, protecting those who are most vulnerable, practicing good hygiene – we have just got to do this because we have got to keep the level down,” he said.
You can listen back to the full interview here: