The Social Democrats called on the Taoiseach and Government to spell out clearly what measures they will take and which they want people to take to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus across the country, now that the whole country is to move to Level 3.

Róisín Shortall TD, Social Democrats co-leader, said:

“The Government are calling on all of us to do our part to reverse the spread of the Covid-19 virus, a call which we strongly echo. Together, we have a short window of opportunity to get the virus under control and must grasp that opportunity.

“The Government must fully outline the further steps that they are asking people to take to ensure that the virus is contained and reduced, and outline how these measures will be enforced. It will be far better to fully inform and guide people with crystal clear messaging than rely on as yet unspecified enforcement measures.

“However, people also expect the Government to do their part. This means the Government must vastly improve our test and trace system to ensure a much more rapid turnaround and that the tracing system is comprehensive and both forward looking and backward looking to see the environments where Covid-19 has spread from.

“It means the Government must implement a system of testing, tracking and monitoring incoming travellers to the country. It is just unacceptable that we still have no controls for Covid-19 at our airports and ports.

“Many thousands of people will now be in fear for their jobs and many businesses clawing their way back from the first lockdown will be in jeopardy as they move to Level 3. PUP payments must be restored and a much more extensive package of grants and supports for businesses are urgently needed.

“The Government squandered the opportunity they had over the summer to build capacity in hospital beds and ICU beds, in testing and tracing, in building resilience for businesses. These issues now have to be addressed as a matter of extreme urgency.

“The Government has difficulties with the NPHET advice to move to Level 5 and decided not to accept it. To maintain trust and confidence in the decision making on Covid-19 measures it is essential that we now have full disclosure of the data and modelling used to inform the NPHET recommendations, and full transparency on the Government’s decision not to accept the advice.”

5th October 2020

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