Cork expert voices concerns over possibility of 'fourth wave'

Cork expert voices concerns over possibility of 'fourth wave'

Prof. Gerry Killeen, AXA Research Chair in ApplieD Pathogen Ecology, UCC.

An infectious disease expert and research chair of applied pathogen ecology at UCC has voiced concern over the possibility of another wave of the pandemic. 

Speaking toThe Echo, Gerry Killeen said that he is expecting a fourth wave. 

“I am expecting a fourth wave, but I would love to be wrong. We are in a bit of a slow-growth phase which concerns me. The big risk is we drop our guard over the coming months and we close down hotel quarantine as we think it is all over.

“That could go wrong very fast as these new variants are more transmissible. When things go wrong, they go wrong very quickly," he said. 

Mr Killeen was speaking as a report emerged yesterday that significant numbers of people who travelled to Ireland by plane recently, and were described as close contacts of people, had never been traced.

The report in yesterday’s Irish Examiner detailed correspondence from a tracing employee and shared with Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy. It said nearly 250 flights into Ireland have had at least one confirmed case of Covid-19 since January 1, but up to 80% of close contacts on some planes have never been traced. In more recent weeks, over 50 of those flights have included cases of the so-called ‘variants of concern’, according to the correspondence.

Mr Killeen said he was not surprised by the report.

He said he “would treat this as a favourable representation of what I am hearing.”

He also noted that Ireland has an "open border" with some of its neighbours. 

“There is no such thing as half a quarantine. You either do it or you don’t. We have a totally open border for most of our nearest neighbours. We have protected ourselves against countries such as Ghana and Seychelles, but we are wide open with other countries,” he said.

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