One month into lockdown: How Cork has fared so far

One month into lockdown: How Cork has fared so far
Emergency Department cleaning staff, CUH, Cork. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

IT has now been just over one month since Ireland went into lockdown and life as we know it changed dramatically.

On Friday, March 27, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the almost full lockdown of the country in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sisters Niamh and Kate O'Brien get some exercise together, beside the River Lee, at The Marina, Cork on Saturday 18th April 2020. Picture: Larry Cummins
Sisters Niamh and Kate O'Brien get some exercise together, beside the River Lee, at The Marina, Cork on Saturday 18th April 2020. Picture: Larry Cummins

Ahead of Easter Sunday, it was announced that restrictions on movement implemented to contain the outbreak of Covid-19 would be extended for a further three weeks.

“Your sacrifices are making a difference,” Mr Varadkar said in a live broadcast, whilst acknowledging “too many have died. We cannot be complacent, we cannot lose focus.”

Very quiet city streets on Saturday afternoon in Cork City. St Patrick's Street, Cork with very few people out on Saturday March 28. Pic; Larry Cummins
Very quiet city streets on Saturday afternoon in Cork City. St Patrick's Street, Cork with very few people out on Saturday March 28. Pic; Larry Cummins

Ahead of that May 5 deadline, the country is waiting with bated breath to see if these restrictions will be eased but hopes could be dashed if the public does not maintain a high level of compliance with the current government directives ahead of then.

Garda Tomas Ryan and Garda Robert Falvey on Covid-19 coronavirus travel restriction checkpoint duty at Midleton, Co. Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
Garda Tomas Ryan and Garda Robert Falvey on Covid-19 coronavirus travel restriction checkpoint duty at Midleton, Co. Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

While Gardaí on the beat and conducting checkpoints all over Cork have consistently reported a high level of cooperation with the restrictions, Mr Varadkar recently urged the public not to become complacent.

He made the comments after data from Dublin Bus showed an increase in the number of journeys taken last week amid suggestions that there has been an increase in people’s movement.

Mr Varadkar said the Government will be looking at this type of data ahead of any decision to ease restrictions.

“One of the big fears we have is anticipatory behaviour,” he said.

“People anticipate easing of restrictions and are leapfrogging that and engaging in social contact that can allow the virus to spread. The fact we can see people being more lax in what they are doing is a real worry and will make it harder to come out of this.”

A Cork City Council park warden keeping an eye on social distance at the Lough, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
A Cork City Council park warden keeping an eye on social distance at the Lough, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

Meanwhile, assistant secretary to the Department of An Taoiseach Liz Canavan said that while progress has been made, we must “stay the course”.

“The virus has not changed, we have. That is why the virus has improved in the general population.

“We cannot assume that if we relax that the virus will behave any differently than it has up to now,” she said.

Defence Force personnel from 1 Brigade and The Irish Naval Service work together erecting Multi-Purpose Tactical Soft Shelters (MPTSS's) outside the Mercy University Hospital at Grenville Place, Cork City in support of the HSE's Covid-19 treatment strategy at the city centre hospital.
Defence Force personnel from 1 Brigade and The Irish Naval Service work together erecting Multi-Purpose Tactical Soft Shelters (MPTSS's) outside the Mercy University Hospital at Grenville Place, Cork City in support of the HSE's Covid-19 treatment strategy at the city centre hospital.

Over the course of the past few weeks what has remained a constant is the goodwill, positivity and kindness Cork people have shown to one another.

Challenges

Amid the challenges presented by the pandemic, communities across the city and county have pulled together.

In Donoughmore, father and son duo Brian and Conor McLoughlin have been lifting the spirits of their community by repainting local landmarks within their 2km radius.

Betty Brosnan at her home in Carrigaline sewing on the extra material to the medical gowns.
Betty Brosnan at her home in Carrigaline sewing on the extra material to the medical gowns.

In Carrigaline, local woman Betty Brosnan has been sewing extra material onto medical gowns for nurses in the area to make them more fit for purpose. And in the city centre, Caitriona Twomey and the team at Cork Penny Dinners have continued their Trojan work despite unprecedented demand to ensure that of all the worries people are currently dealing with, food should not be one of them.

They and many other individuals and community groups are proof that, even when we have to stay apart, we remain strong together.

Gardai on Covid-19 coronavirus travel restriction checkpoint duty at the Lower Glanmire Road, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan Reading the paper is Gerard Fitzgerald in Blarney, Cork. Picture: Dan LinehanDeserted Garryvoe beach in East Cork on Saturday Picture: Eddie O'Hare A man wearing a face mask crosses St Patrick's Bridge, Cork City on Wednesday 22nd April 2020.Pic; Larry CumminsLocal boy Dominic Walsh out for a walk in Fountainstown beach in Cork on Saturday .Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Gardai on Covid-19 coronavirus travel restriction checkpoint duty at the Lower Glanmire Road, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
Gardai on Covid-19 coronavirus travel restriction checkpoint duty at the Lower Glanmire Road, Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan

A man wearing a face mask crosses St Patrick's Bridge, Cork City on Wednesday 22nd April 2020.Pic; Larry CumminsLocal boy Dominic Walsh out for a walk in Fountainstown beach in Cork on Saturday .Picture: Eddie O'Hare Garda Tim McCarthy, Clonakilty Chambers is pictured at Long Strand, West Cork.   Picture Dan Linehan

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