Covid-19: keep your distance over Easter

 

Sir, – Dr Kathryn Armstrong (April 7th) makes an appeal to the Northern Ireland authorities to prevent journeys to the Giant’s Causeway.

Can I ask our authorities to put a 24-hour watch on roads, trains and buses and prevent holiday home-owners and others from travelling north, south, east and west for the Easter holidays? There are not so many ways out of the Pale that the gardaí could not ensure a 100 per cent shut-in. – Yours, etc,

JIM FINAN,

Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Sir, – Could we desist from the fatuous narrative that the plague is being brought to the hapless rural folk of Ireland by the perfidious city dweller?

While it is true that, as a natural consequence of denser populations, the incidence of Covid-19 is higher in cities, it is surely equally true that there can scarcely be a village in Ireland without a known or unknown case of the virus.

The far more accurate and important message is that right now people, wherever and whoever they are, should not be travelling needlessly. Let’s not start fanning the flames of stranger danger. – Yours, etc,

PATRICIA MULKEEN,

Sligo.

Sir, – May I please ask holiday makers not to come to Donegal for their Easter holiday this year. Stay away, stay home, stay safe. We want to see you all back next year. Just for this year, please enjoy your Easter eggs at home. Thank you.

BRIAN MC DEVITT,

Glenties, Co Donegal.

Sir, – With the restrictions on our daily movements due to the health emergency what, if any, actions are being taken to ensure the public do not travel to their holiday homes over the Easter weekend? What arrangements have been put in place to ensure there is no cross-Border travel to holiday homes?

Since I have come across no mention of any such arrangements either online or on the radio, I fully expect the car parks of the supermarkets here in Bundoran to be populated with both Northern and UK-registered cars as would be the case during a normal Easter weekend.

I will, of course, be keeping my distance. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY MORAN,

Bundoran, Co Donegal.

Sir, – It beggars belief at one level that some will travel in breach of the guidelines. On another it’s perhaps no surprise that some are so selfish. Rural communities are probably not geared to handle the influx. It may also give rise to tensions that spill over. An Garda Síochána should put road blocks on all the main arteries and at the very least add many hours to journey times, while all legal checks are run on the vehicles and occupants.

An hour-long check of each vehicle should mean arriving at the intended destination in time for the May bank holiday, for most.

If travellers still insist on their right to travel they should be informed that a record of their journey is being made and if any members of the party contract Covid-19 they are waiving their right to access HSE services. This might give some a pause for thought and turn back home. – Yours, etc,

DAVID CASSIDY,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – Is the planned closure of certain beaches and public parks this weekend going to have the opposite effect to that intended?

It seems the best way to prevent onward transmission of Covid-19 is to keep away from each other: simple physical distancing.By closing some beaches and parks, but not others, people who need to get out and go for a walk will be corralled into those remaining areas that are left open, bringing them into likely closer contact with each other – the opposite effect to that intended.

Might it be more effective to keep all the beaches and parks open, allowing greater choice and thus less density of visitors, but have a high Garda and council official/volunteer presence at those areas to remind us all to keep our distance? – Yours, etc,

DAVID DORAN,

Bagenalstown,

Co Carlow.

Sir, – Irish people need to know that lockdown is still very important because when anyone watches TV and sees number of deaths in other countries our numbers of deaths seems small and so people think, why should we stay indoors – as we are doing much better and don’t have as big a problem as the politicians and health officials are warning us about?

Irish numbers compared to Spain, Italy, France and the UK seem much lower but keep in mind these countries have around 60 million people compared to our five million in the South of Ireland, so multiplying our number of deaths by 10-12 percent would actually gives us a more accurate comparison.

I was sick since March 11th, 11 days later I got tested (March 22nd), 15 days later (on April 6th) I got results – I tested positive.

I know there were issues with testing reagents etc, but I believe the problems and faults with testing will create a false sense that our numbers of coronavirus cases are smaller than they are.

With delays in dates around tests like this I fear the worst is yet to come and so I hope you can persuade those who have the power to delay the lifting of our lockdown, and also to explain all this to the Irish on the daily reports or news programmes. – Yours, etc,

CLARE GANNON,

Dublin 6.

A chara, – A university of Washington study has estimated that Covid-19 will cost 150,000 lives in Europe during the first wave of the pandemic, with 66,000 lives to be lost in the UK, 19,000 in Spain, 20,000 in Italy, 15,000 in France, and only 400 in Ireland based on the patterns of infection and fatality to date (Home News, Paul Cullen, April 8th).

I am aware that NPHET officials in Ireland have criticised the research as being unreliable, but it makes for sobering reading even if it is only half way accurate.

Two conclusions seem obvious: First, countries such as Ireland and Germany that have followed the WHO mandated policy of early implementation of social distancing rules and widespread testing and contact tracing have been more successful in suppressing the pandemic. We need to learn from what worked and didn’t work in this pandemic and ensure there is a more co-ordinated response within the EU, and hopefully on the whole island of Ireland, in the future.

Second, EU member-states badly need a more centralised and harmonised EU public health policy and response capability so that future pandemics can be suppressed more effectively and consistently throughout the union. Viruses do not respect borders. Public health care, or at least pandemic avoidance and control, complete with the maintenance of strategic reserve stocks of key medicines and equipment, must become an EU competency. – Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER,

Blessington, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – The media’s daily obsession with death tolls is obscene.

If the reporting contained a scintilla of accuracy one might forgive them a little but when naked figures are broadcast each day they serve only to frighten the population and maintain a prurient interest by the same population in these meaningless figures.

Firstly on an average Tuesday 80-90 people die in Ireland, in Italy that may be as high as 1,500; worldwide 164,000. What we don’t hear from the media is the numbers who died on this Tuesday in excess of the expected. Nor do they make a distinction between someone dying with coron virus or as a result of coronavirus. The former could occur with any viral illness making existing medical conditions worse, the latter being somewhat unique to coronaviruses causing ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome).

Perhaps that type of reporting isn’t sensational enough for either the media, who have to compete with ever shortening attention spans, or politicians who have to justify their disastrous shutting down of the economy. – Yours, etc,

Dr WILLIAM RALPH,

The Ballagh Health Centre,

Enniscorthy, Wexford.

Sir, – Prof Emer Shelley (Opinion, April 6th), advocates that everyone over 70 should cocoon. She would see a diminished quality of life for those cocooned as price worth paying for “the benefits to those stating at home, to the wider public, and to those providing essential services”. There is no mention of a notional 12 weeks duration, or perhaps even longer.

Is she saying that under 70s’ freedom for a once-a-day short duration walk or exercise (within a 2 km radius, observing social distancing and other precautions) is not sufficiently risk-free for the over-70s? People will arrive at their common-sense answers to questions such as these, until the-powers-that -be catch up. – Yours,etc,

PAT HENNESSY,

Howth,

Dublin 13.