Commenting on the return to full Level 5 restrictions, Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:
“Yet again, due to the absence of a coherent strategy to suppress the virus, the country is entering another complete lockdown. This course of action has been inevitable for some time and is now necessary in order to control soaring case numbers. However, it is clearly not sustainable – socially or economically – to continue going in and out of lockdowns.
“The Government must now prioritise the negotiation of an all-island approach which could see both the Republic and Northern Ireland working in tandem to pursue a near-elimination strategy. The opportunity must be grasped by both authorities now that there are severe restrictions in place, on both sides of the border. This would allow all citizens to benefit from our status as a small island and enable us to control the spread of the virus on a long-term basis and achieve some semblance of normality over the coming year.
“Such a strategy would require:
- A co-ordinated approach to international travel.
- Policing of internal travel until numbers are controlled.
- Effective testing and tracing systems to identify places of transmission.
- Properly resourcing public health doctors.
“The reality is that it will be well into next summer by the time most people are vaccinated. In the meantime, the Government must change its approach and work towards near-elimination of the virus in order to protect the country’s health, as well as its social and economic wellbeing.”
December 30, 2020