Lord Mayor says Cork should 'keep calm and carry on' as coronavirus spread sees events cancelled

Lord Mayor says Cork should 'keep calm and carry on' as coronavirus spread sees events cancelled
Provision 090320Coronavirius signage at Cork Airport ArrivalsPic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

LORD Mayor Of Cork, John Sheehan has urged people not to panic, to be sensible, and to try to carry on as normal, amid the evolving situation regarding the coronavirus outbreak. He also stressed that this week will be crucial in how the outbreak evolves here.

On Monday, Cork City Council took the decision to cancel this year’s St Patrick’s Day Parade. The local authority had carried out a risk assessment for the event based on World Health Organisation guidelines. This had concluded that based on the demographic of those attending the parade, the close proximity of people attending the event and the duration of the event, among other considerations, that Cork City Council was “not in a position to provide the necessary assurances in relation to current WHO Guidelines”.

The Lord Mayor said that while the decision was a difficult one, he believed it was “the right one” amid a constantly “evolving situation”. He said that it simply would not have been possible to put in the appropriate safety measures for the event in place in order for it to go ahead.

Builders prepare an Isolation Unit at Grove House, St. Mary’s, Gurranabraher, Cork City for CoronavirusPic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Builders prepare an Isolation Unit at Grove House, St. Mary’s, Gurranabraher, Cork City for CoronavirusPic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

He also felt that even if the parade went ahead, that there was “not the mood” for the event, adding that people are being cautious and may not have attended anyway. “People are being very sensible about this outbreak in terms of things like hand hygiene and in following the public health advice,” he said.

Lord Mayor Sheehan acknowledged that the cancellation will have cost implications. While it is not possible to quantify the true costs of this at this time, he said it will certainly have implications for participants and for attendees due to travel here as well as businesses in the city who would witness reduce footfall on the day.

Asked if he believed more events will be cancelled, the Lord Mayor said that this was likely. “This week is a crucial week in terms of how we see viral spread. This will inform decisions every day, and every week,” he added. “We may, unfortunately, have to see other events being cancelled.” 

Supervalu in Clonakilty had a Hand Sanitiser station in its foyer on Monday. This comes as every St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Picture: Andy Gibson
Supervalu in Clonakilty had a Hand Sanitiser station in its foyer on Monday. This comes as every St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Picture: Andy Gibson

The Lord Mayor said the key advice he has for people at this time is “not to panic, to be sensible regarding things like hand hygiene and not coughing and sneezing around people and to try to carry on as normal.” He also urged people to try not to engage in panic buying, saying more food would end up getting thrown out as a result.

The Government announced that it had decided that all St Patrick’s Day parades would not proceed.

Before the announcement was made a number of organisations in Cork had taken the decision to cancel their own events including in Kinsale, Bantry, and Bandon. Ballincollig's parade has also been cancelled.

Councillors attending Cork County Council’s full meeting had also raised concern over the potential implications of parades in towns during the current outbreak.

Last week, Youghal was the first town in the country to cancel its St Patrick’s Day parade with organisers saying that while the event has always been well supported, and was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the rich and varied culture of the town, the health and the health of their community was our primary concern.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus situation at the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork is “very controlled”, according to hospital sources, after the hospital saw its first case of Covid-19.

An elderly man is being treated for coronavirus at the private hospital after he was admitted with suspected pneumonia.

He is now in an intensive care unit in a single bed room.

Two members of staff at the hospital are self-isolating in the wake of the confirmed case, which is another case of 'community transmission', meaning the virus is spreading from person to person within Ireland.

A source in the hospital told The Echo on Monday that the situation at the Bons is “really very controlled”.

“Bons infection control and microbiology service is very strong so staff are really well trained in precautions and protective wear,” they added.

The source also said the hospital is screening everyone entering the hospital for respiratory symptoms, but otherwise it is business as usual.

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