Dr Gabriel Scally: ‘Dithering’ over quarantine bad for public health and economy

Dr Gabriel Scally: ‘Dithering’ over quarantine bad for public health and economy

Vivienne Clarke

Public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally has again warned that quarantine is a process that only works if it is done properly.

Dr Scally, who is professor of public health at the University of Bristol, told RTÉ’s Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes that the concept of quarantine was centuries old, “but it only works if you do it properly”.

It could be said that all cases of Covid-19 were linked to travel, he said, as the Spanish variant had been brought back by people returning from holiday while the B117 “UK” variant was also brought into the country.

“We’re in the situation now where there are variants around the world that are potentially very dangerous. Some (of the variants) can dodge the vaccine, some are much more infectious”

Variants

Dr Scally warned that there was no point in getting the numbers down if the country was prepared to “welcome new variants” which would “undo all that effort”.

The countries that had controlled quarantine were now doing better economically, he said.

The current “dithering” about quarantine in Ireland was very bad for the health of the population and for the economy, he said.

On the proposal that people be released from mandatory quarantine after five days if they had a negative PCR test result, Dr Scally said the suggestion was up for discussion, but he thought the safest way was to “do it properly for 10 to 14 days”.

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