Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

09.11 11 Apr 2021


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The public is being urged to continue adhering to public health guidelines when certain COVID-19 restrictions are eased at midnight tonight. 

After more than 100 days of lockdown, people can travel anywhere within their county while two households can meet up outdoors.

Schools will also fully reopen to all students from tomorrow, while the construction of houses can start again.

The 5-day average of cases is now 438 after 14 further coronavirus-related deaths and 455 new cases were confirmed yesterday.

Dr Nuala O'Connor, a GP in Cork and Clinical Lead on COVID-19 at the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), said it's important to keep the numbers low as restrictions are lifted.

She told Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh that the vast majority of the public are adhering to the public health measures.

We won't know the impact of any mixing over the Easter period in terms of coronavirus cases until the end of this week, so there will be some "concern" until then among health officials, she said.

"It's fantastic, the full reopening of our schools and all our children back to full-time education tomorrow," Dr O'Connor said.

"But just to remind people that the best way to keep our schools safe is to keep our communities safe by adhering to the public guidelines.

"There will be more people on the move tomorrow and we know that being in school remains a very safe environment, only 3% of all children under 18 have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We need to be careful about the mixing, not to be hanging around schools, both parents and children need to adhere outside the actual in-classroom time to public health measures.

"That means staying apart to stay safe so we can continue to drive those numbers down, while we continue to drive the vaccine numbers up."

covid-19 vaccine A view of the Citywest COVID-19 vaccination centre in Dublin. Credit: PA

Angry calls to GPs

Dr O'Connor said that GPs continue to be busy during the vaccine rollout, and she appealed to people to "be kind" when contacting practices.

Some of her staff have received angry phone calls from people querying why they haven't received their jab yet.

"General practice has been really busy, it's been 15 months dealing with people with symptoms of COVID and people recovering from COVID and sending people for testing, along with dealing with all the usual things in general practice," she said.

"What we're finding at the moment which is very good is that people are coming forward with non-COVID symptoms.

"One of the things we've always been concerned about is that we would miss other diagnoses because people weren't presenting.

"We're also very busy giving vaccines, over 420,000 vaccines have been given by general practice and in fact, many of us have been giving them at weekends and at bank holidays so as not to disrupt normal work.

"While I do understand it's very frustrating if you're the person that hasn't actually yet received the vaccine when it's available for your age group, we don't have any control over the supply of vaccines that come to us."

Dr O'Connor added that when the inoculations are administered they are "incredibly positive, uplifting days for everybody".

However, she said: "But sadly my own staff do receive quite a few phone calls from people getting very angry and frustrated and giving out and it's not our staff's fault that there's a delay in the vaccines.

"What we ask of people is to be kind, to be patient, and to understand that we are busy and to understand there are things outside our control, it's not really fair to take it out on the person who's answering the phone at the GP surgery."

Main image: Paramedic staff Chris Rowan in full PPE at the National Ambulance Service facilitated COVID-19 walk-in test centre outside the Ballyfermot Sports Complex yesterday morning. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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Covid-19 Covid-19 Vaccines Dr Nuala O'Connor GPs Vaccine Rollout

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