Social distancing standards slipping, says medical chief

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People are mixing closer together on Ireland’s streets, the acting chief medical officer has warned.

Dr Ronan Glynn raised alarm at declining physical distancing standards as he urged a renewed national effort to defeat the pandemic.

No new Covid-19 related deaths have been reported, the National Public Health Emergency Team said, but there has been an uptick in the number of cases in recent weeks.

As of midnight on Sunday, the health system has been notified of 57 more confirmed cases.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>Dr Ronan Glynn warned Ireland was seeing people much closer together on the streets (Niall Carson/PA)</figcaption>
Dr Ronan Glynn warned Ireland was seeing people much closer together on the streets (Niall Carson/PA)

Dr Glynn said: “It appears that people are washing their hands and practising respiratory etiquette (masks).

“Along with all of that we are seeing people much closer together on our streets.”

He added: “I would ask people to… just give yourselves the space.”

He said the outbreak was not confined to three Midlands counties.

“It continues to be a pandemic that affects us nationally and it continues to require a national effort to overcome it.”

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>The Carroll Cuisine meat processing plant in Co Offaly (Niall Carson/PA)</figcaption>
The Carroll Cuisine meat processing plant in Co Offaly (Niall Carson/PA)

Co Offaly meat processing plant Carroll Cuisine is suspending operations amid efforts to control the spike in cases in the Midlands.

He said 19 of the new cases reported by midnight on Sunday are located in Kildare, 11 in Dublin, 10 in Offaly, seven in Limerick, and the rest are in Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry and Wicklow.

Localised restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly announced on Friday are in place for at least two weeks.

Residents are only allowed to travel outside their counties in limited circumstances while restaurants and pubs serving food have been closed.

  • 19 of the new cases reported by midnight on Sunday are located in Kildare
  • 11 in Dublin
  • 10 in Offaly
  • 7 in Limerick

Dr Glynn said: “I fully understand the frustrations of other businesses in the area and the comparisons that they are making but ultimately this pandemic is not going away for the foreseeable number of months.”

He said the country could not just close down all high-risk environments like airports or meat plants as people live with the virus threat.

“We have to be guided by the experts on the ground who have the level of knowledge and expertise to make assessments there,” he said.



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