The Lord Mayor of Cork, Dr John Sheehan has stressed the importance of people continuing their efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and said that while we have avoided the feared surge in cases, a significant number of cases of Covid-19 continue to be reported every day.
The Lord Mayor made the comments following the announcement by the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar to extend the current restrictions which were introduced to reduce the spread of the virus until May 18.
The Taoiseach also announced that the 2km limit to get personal exercise is to be extended to 5km from Tuesday and those aged over 70 will be able to go for a walk or drive within 5km of their homes once they avoid contact with all other people.
Speaking to The Echo, the Lord Mayor said he believed that the changes were “very sensible, and guided by medical advice”.
“It was important to have some element of change particularly for the elderly — there was a sense that they were looking for permission to go out and exercise,” he said.
The Lord Mayor said the extension of the limit for personal exercise from 2km to 5km was also welcome and could be achieved “without impacting on physical distancing”.
The Taoiseach also set out a roadmap as to when businesses can begin to open, with plans for some sectors to resume activity from May 18.
Lord Mayor Sheehan said that businesses needed this roadmap.
“It is very hard for businesses to plan and they need some element of certainty,” he said.
The Lord Mayor said that while people may feel weary, that it is important to continue to follow the guidance of Government.
“We’re dealing with the problems of success,” he said. “We avoided the surge. Our hospitals haven’t been swamped, our ICUs haven’t been swapped.”
However the Lord Mayor said that success can bring challenges, and it is important to “keep things going”. Recalling the flu pandemic of 1918/1919, the Lord Mayor pointed out how the second wave of the pandemic was worse than the first, and warned that this could “flare up”.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Echo on Friday, Cork based infectious disease consultant, Dr Arthur Jackson said people should be prepared for the possibility of some of the restrictions which will be lifted being reintroduced in the future, if needed, based on best medical advice.
The Cork consultant said that while “we as a community and a country have responded very well” to the outbreak so far, “we don’t know what is coming up”.
However, Dr Jackson said that the country was better placed to respond to Covid-19 now than it was two months ago.