Expert says nobody wants to go back to ‘pain and distress’ following cases surge

Expert says nobody wants to go back to pain and distress following cases surge

An Irish health expert has urged the public to exercise caution as ahead of fears of a fresh wave of Covid-19.

Ireland saw a large surge in the number of coronavirus cases today with 85 new cases confirmed on Thursday.

Meanwhile one further person tragically died due to the illness.

It is understood that between 30-40 of the new cases were related to outbreaks at a dogfood factory in Kildare.

This outbreak is also associated with clusters in two direct provision centres where some of the workers are living.

A coronavirus test tube (stock photo)

Professor Cliona Ni Cheallaigh who is a consultant in infectious diseases at St James’s Hospital, said: “There’s the memory of the pain and distress that the previous surge caused and the number of deaths is very fresh in our minds, I think none of us want to return to that situation.

“So, yes, worrying and as Dr Glynn and Professor Nolan have said there are a lot of measures in place, there’s a lot more understanding of the disease then there was back in March.”

Dr Ni Cheallaigh said: “It’s important to realise that people’s social situations, what access to money they have, how they feel about going to the doctor, how safe they feel about interacting with the state have a profound effect on their health.

“If you have people living in settings in which multiple people who aren’t part of the same family are sharing living spaces, sharing bedrooms, sometimes even sharing beds, for a disease like this that spreads so easily in close contact, that’s really a recipe for disaster.”

Dr Ni Cheallaigh told RTE’s Morning Ireland that it would be “very difficult” for a person in direct provision to self-isolate.

“The recommendations if you self-isolate are essentially not to come into contact with other people, to stay in your bedroom, to have your meals delivered to the door and that’s easy to do if you have your own home and access and support from a family. But that’s not always the case in direct provision.

“When people are sharing sleeping quarters with people that they’re not related to, how are they supposed to meaningfully self-isolate?

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“Another critical point to remember is that a lot of people who have Covid-19 have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms, their symptoms may not start for a few days after they’ve already become infectious.

She said this means the virus can spread rapidly before people even realise they are ill.

Prof Ni Cheallaigh added that workers can be at risk from the virus in shared break rooms and toilets on construction sites and other such facilities.

She said: “If people are sharing those, there is a risk of transmission.”

“I think a lot of us are managing to stick to the precautions day after day really well, we just need to keep going.”

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