THE number of Covid-19 cases will increase as a result of the decision to reopen pubs and our testing system will not be able to cope, an expert in biochemistry at University College Cork has warned.
Pubs across Ireland, with the exception of Dublin, reopened on Monday, after around six months of being closed.
Meanwhile, referrals for Covid-19 testing and confirmed cases of the virus have been on the rise in recent weeks, amid the relaxing of lockdown measures and the return to school.
Tom Cotter has been Professor of Biochemistry at UCC since 1995.
His main research interests are in understanding cell death and survival mechanisms and he has served on the Boards of Science Foundation Ireland and The Health Research Board of Ireland.
Speaking to The Echo, Professor Cotter warned that pubs will allow for easy transmission of Covid-19.
He said he believes they have reopened far too soon.
“Pubs are a dream place for the SARS Cov2 (Covid-19) virus as they allow for easy transmission between people,” he explained.
“We have opened them too soon and coming into winter is not an ideal opening time either.
“Expect infection numbers to jump in the coming weeks as a result of this decision,” he warned.
“A virus containing aerosols spreads easily in confined places such as you have in Irish pubs.”
Taking to social media this week, Professor Cotter warned that Ireland’s testing system does not have the capacity to cope with increased cases as a result of pubs reopening
“Hold onto your seats — it’s going to be a rough ride this winter.”
Dublin is currently under level three restrictions, meaning pubs did not reopen on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Government is concerned at increased cases of Covid-19 in some counties such as Louth, Waterford, Limerick, Kildare, Leitrim, Donegal, Offaly, and Wicklow, with reports suggesting that an increase to level three restrictions in these counties could happen later this week.