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No point jumping the gun on 2 metres if we risk another outbreak – Burke

28th May 2020 - Peter Burke TD

A Fine Gael TD has warned that it’s premature to seek a reduction in social distancing to 1 metre before the health advice shows that it’s safe to do so, as it risks another widespread outbreak of Covid19.

Deputy Peter Burke said: “We’re just over half way through Phase I of the Roadmap with another week and a half to go. It’s premature to seek a reduction in social distancing guidelines. Anyone who does so is jumping the gun.

“We are still in the midst of an epidemic, with 17 deaths and 73 new cases recorded yesterday. We’re a long way from the finishing line. We don’t yet have a clear picture of how the reduced restrictions in Phase I are impacting on Covid19.

“It will take two full weeks for the impact of Phase I to become apparent, and we will only have a better sense of the impact next week. So it’s far too early to be calling for restrictions to be eased further.

“There is lots of advice available on social distancing, whether you take the WHO, the ECDC or many other organisations. But what they all agree on is that the further away you are, the safer you are. And thanks to the deliberations of NPHET, it’s clear that the 2 metre distance is the right advice at this point in time.”

Deputy Burke continued: “We appreciate fully the impact that social distancing has on restaurants, creches and other service providers. But we should never lose sight of the fact that if we move too quickly, we risk having another outbreak of Covid19. And that would be a disaster for everyone, whether that’s businesses or the public at large. It’s something we cannot afford to risk.

“Of course, the 2 metres is guidance only – it’s not the law. And we do understand that it’s not possible to maintain a rigorous 2 metre distance at all times.

“But if we are all sensible and strive to implement the social distancing guidelines, we can all save lives. And we’ll all be in this together,” Deputy Burke concluded.


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