Digital Desk Staff
Local lockdowns "couldn't be ruled out" amid concerns about case numbers in Donegal, a government minister has said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Junior Minister Pippa Hackett said all options must be open after a meeting was held between Donegal representatives and public health chiefs.
The meeting was called after figures from the National Public Health Emergency Team showed that Donegal had the highest incidence rate in the country at 293.4 per 100,000 population.
The national 14-day incidence rate is less than half that at 127.3 per 100,000 people.
The Milford and Letterkenny electoral areas have particularly high Covid case numbers, around five times the national average.
Ms Hackett said it "couldn't be ruled out", adding that her own county of Offaly went into a local lockdown last year.
"I think what we need to do is work with the people in Donegal," she said.
"It's Donegal this week, it could be another county or another area in another few weeks.
"Weeks ago Offaly was on one of the highest on the list, and, as a result, we did open up a walk-in test centre that has been effective.
"So I mean absolutely looking at what we can do as a State to support people in Donegal, to get through this. We should be looking at all options, and you could also maybe look at how we could use the rapid testing, maybe on a pilot basis in Donegal.
"I think lots of these options need to be looked at."
Sinn Féin's Padraig McLochlainn, who represents the county, said last night's meeting with health chiefs was "useful".
"We outlined clearly to the Minister for Health and to the chief medical officer that the vast majority of the people are adhering to the public health guidelines," he said.
"They have made huge personal sacrifices. Donegal had 1,600 cases per 100,000.
"We got that down to around 150. We were actually the bottom half of the table...and we've had some difficulties recently. But overall, our people have done tremendously well."