A senior member of Government has admitted that there has been an “overlap of messaging” in terms of the latest COVID-19 restrictions.
It comes amid confusion over the rules regarding spectators at sporting events and the numbers of people permitted at some gatherings but not others.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Peter Burke, Minister of state with responsibility for local government and planning said he ‘absolutely agrees’ that further clarity is needed.
“I would concede that there has been an overlap of messaging,” he said. “There is no doubting that and I think we have to accept that and take responsibility for it and I think we need to rectify it quickly.
“But at the end of the day, you can’t prescribe a rule for every event in society. You have to use your own personal responsibility.”
He said it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure that COVID-19 guidelines are clear and expressed hope the HSE will provide further detail later this morning.
Minister Burke was speaking following reports the National Public Health Emergency Team has privately warned the Government that we may need to return to a full lockdown to take control of the outbreak.
He said it would be “very difficult to countenance” another lockdown but insisted we all have a responsibility to reduce our contacts to avoid the worst.
“I would be absolutely hopeful that the current restrictions that have been announced will arrest the increase in coronavirus,” he said.
“We have to be concerned because, as we have seen over the last number of days, we have had 1,200 cases in the last 14 days; we have the third-highest growth rate in the EU at the moment.
“So, it is very important for people to reduce the number of contacts they have and that has to be of primary importance, we have personal responsibility here.
“But I think it would be very hard to countenance our economy going back into lockdown again because of the societal effects it has.
“We have a unique opportunity now to grasp and stop that from happening; to ensure we do take personal responsibility.”
He warned that we are still facing a “very potent virus” and, if things got out of control, the intensive care capacity in our hospitals could be overwhelmed.
“We as a society have to respond to that and ensure we are doing everything possible to arrest that and ensure that we get society to function as normal in terms of getting our children back to school as normal as possible while trying to live alongside the virus,” he said. “That is a big challenge for any society.”