GP calls for people to be fined if they fail to self-isolate


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.15 28 Sep 2020


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There are calls for fines to be introduced for people who fail to self-isolate when they need to.

Monaghan-based GP Dr Illona Duffy says not everyone is properly self-isolating as required.

She has suggested more needs to be done to ensure people follow the rules - although stressed a better 'education campaign' is also a key step in getting the message out there.

It comes as coronavirus cases continued to rise across the country, with 430 new cases confirmed yesterday - the highest daily figure since last April.

European figures show Ireland has recorded an incidence rate of 78 per 100,000 population over the past 14 days.

Dr Duffy spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about her own experiences.

GP calls for people to be fined if they fail to self-isolate

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She said: "[One] patient whom I rang just to confirm they were aware of their positive result wasn't even at home.

"Two other calls I received from patients... they were really distraught. They realised they'd been exposed to COVID virus, and counted as close contacts - the person they were exposed to also should have been in isolation because they were also a close contact.

"The big concern at the moment is not just that we're getting sporadic cases, but they're getting community spread - more and more cases where people are passing it on because they're not actually in isolation when they should be in isolation. I feel we have to do something,"

'Put the brakes on'

Dr Duffy doesn't believe breaches aren't happening a lot, and most people are listening to the advice they're given.

However, she said: "If you are a close contact, you must isolate for two weeks. During that time you will be offered two tests - but those tests aren't to get you out of isolation early. They're purely to see if you could have it and be asymptomatic.

"It's really to stop the spread and put the brakes on it."

While Dr Duffy is backing fines, she says it's vital more work is done to inform people of the rules and guidelines.

She explained: "Perhaps better than fines is actually a better education campaign about this, because there remains confusion about why you need to be isolating for 14 days if you're a close contact, and why it's only ten days if you are someone who tests positive.

"Most people want to get back to a normal life... they may be concerned about their jobs... For everybody to understand, I think it's got to be a better public health campaign."

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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