Cork GP calls for restrictions to be eased in 'safe but manageable way'

Cork GP calls for restrictions to be eased in 'safe but manageable way'

Dr Sheehan noted that case numbers in Cork have remained relatively low, but noted a small increase in referrals for testing.

A CORK GP has called for restrictions to be eased in a “safe and manageable way” when these are reviewed next month. 

Speaking to the Echo, Dr John Sheehan said that many people are finding the longevity of restrictions difficult and there is a need to look at easing restrictions in a “safe and manageable way”.

The Taoiseach has said the mental health and wellbeing of people would be taken into account when Cabinet meets to consider any easing of public health restrictions from next month. 

Mr Martin has said that the Government will make a "comprehensive announcement" early next week to tell people what will happen after April 5, when the current restrictions are due to lapse.

It comes as concerns are voiced about the current level of Covid-19 cases. 

Dr Sheehan noted that case numbers in Cork have remained relatively low.

“Cork has done very well throughout all of this. January was a very hard month for Cork but generally speaking, Cork people have done incredibly well.” 

Increase in referrals for testing 

However, he noted a slight but “worrying” increase in referrals for Covid-19 testing.

“Certainly, from our own practice, we have had referred very few people for tests of the last few weeks and over the last few days four or five days we’ve certainly seen an increase in the number of people we’re referring for testing so that is worrying," he said. 

Dr Sheehan said he believes the current case numbers nationally may be the result of a combination of factors.

“I think it’s probably due to a few factors, one is we know the UK strain is much more easily transmissible so it can spread much, much faster and we’ve seen that in January. The other factor I think which is totally understandable that with the good weather people have been out more.

“We’ve seen a few people too who have gone back to school and there’s been a few cases there but not many, it has to be said but I think it’s probably just a combination of all of those factors and we really need to just get on with the vaccine because I think that’s going to be the one that makes a big difference,” he added.

Stick to guidance, says Taoiseach 

Meanwhile, Mr Martin also said Ireland can avoid a fourth wave of Covid-19 if people stick to public health measures and avoid indoor gatherings. 

“People have been extremely good here in terms of the impact they’ve had on the virus. We have to stand back and say we’ve brought numbers down very, very significantly from where they were two months ago," he said on RTÉ Radio 1’s News at Oneyesterday. 

“Two months ago we had 2,000 people in hospital. We have to avoid that kind of pressure ever again going on our hospital system, so we are concerned that the situation has remained static. What I would say to people is that we have control of this and we must avoid congregation indoors at all costs.

“If we stick with this and if we manage to adhere [and] keep outdoors, avoid the indoor congregations we can avoid a fourth wave.”

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