Cork city councillor urges restriction in freedom of movement amid coronavirus escalation

Cork city councillor urges restriction in freedom of movement amid coronavirus escalation
Coronavirus covid-19 signs at the main entrance to the Bon Secours Hospital, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

A Cork City councillor has called for freedom of movement to be restricted in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“It seems to be every country for themselves,” said Fianna Fáil’s Colm Kelleher as he called for action now instead of waiting for the situation to get worse. “Economies can recover. If you’re dead you cannot recover.”

Mr Kelleher went on to speak about Vietnam’s handling of the outbreak, explaining how an emergency was called after a handful of cases, leaving them now virus free.

Cllr Colm Kelleher.Pic Darragh Kane
Cllr Colm Kelleher.Pic Darragh Kane

It comes as councillors were briefed on City Hall’s Covid-19 response team by chief executive Ann Doherty. She said there are special arrangements in place for council services, such as the fire services, while there are also contingency plans in place for water services.

They are also reviewing staff who have skills in other areas, in an effort to make people available for redeployment should significant numbers of staff in the same areas become infected or have to self isolate.

Ms Doherty said City Hall is “monitoring and risk-assessing” each situation, including bookings in the concert hall. She said they are keeping the situation “under constant review”.

Independent councillor Ken O’Flynn “nobody wants to be hysterical” but that standards and practices must be looked at.

Worker’s Party councillor Ted Tynan hit out at the public health system in the country, calling it a “shambles” and questioned if the chickens were coming home to roost.

“Those of us who pray should start praying that it doesn’t escalate much further,” said Mr Tynan. “I have friends living in Cuba and I might head off.”

Councillor Des Cahill thanked frontline healthcare staff for their work. “It’s important to continue to listen to the messages from the HSE and mind each other,” he said.

“We want people to be calm and to take preventative measures,” Councillor Tony Fitzgerald said, but said he also doesn’t want older or at risk people to lose normality.

Councillor Henry Cremin said that “economics shouldn’t supersede health.”

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