Christmas should be delayed for a month to ensure we get the most out of coronavirus lockdown, according to Trinity Professor Tomás Ryan.
Announcing the current Level Five restrictions last month, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said follow the guidelines would allow the country to “celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way.”
In the weeks since, COVID-19 cases numbers have continued to fall with 270 new cases reported yesterday.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Dr Tomás Ryan, Associate Professor at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity, said the country could find itself back at 1,000 cases a day by January if we reopen as planned in December.
He said the Government needs to warn people that, under the current plan, this year’s holiday season is “not going to be anything like the Christmases we normally have anyway.”
“It is certainly not going to be worth it if we end up having another lockdown in January or early February which I think should be prevented in any way we can,” he said.
“Even if we get down to 100 cases a day on December 1st, it seems to me it would be much more profitable and pleasant for everyone in Ireland if we got cases down to single figures or to zero and then kept them there so that we could open up and stay open for as long as possible.”
He said the situation in Australia “looks pretty wonderful to me right now” and insisted Ireland could be in the same boat early next year if it keeps the current lockdown going for longer.
“I think we can return to a normality that is quite like life right now in most of Australia by early January, which would mean Level One or Level Zero restrictions by January, if we get rid of this now,” he said.
“One way of doing this would be to delay Christmas until the end of January and have a real Christmas and a real party then.”
He said extending Level Five for at least a few weeks “would be in everyone’s best interests.”
“I don’t think we have been communicated reasonable expectations from the Government on what our Christmas is going to be like,” he said,
“It is certainly not going to be anything like the Christmases we normally have anyway. The important thing is, we are all in lockdown now, we are paying a heavy price anyway and we want to make sure we get the right benefit from it and we won’t be getting that if we have another lockdown in January.”
He said the current reduction in virus around the country is “really positive,” with Ireland now just behind Finland in terms of reducing our cases rate.
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