Nphet, the Government and delay

 

Sir, – The announcement that Ireland may limit indoor dining to those vaccinated or recovered from Covid is of concern for ethical and legal reasons. Why doesn’t the Government look to Denmark? Since April, entry to restaurants, universities, pubs, etc, requires proof of vaccination (one shot is sufficient)/recovery or a negative test.

Allowing entry with a negative test ensures that young people, persons who cannot get the vaccine for health reasons and pregnant women are not discriminated against.

Naturally, this will require increased test capacity (Denmark has the capacity to test 400,000 a day) including in rural areas to combat inequity. Furthermore, to protect personal data, a secure app, like the EU Covid cert is necessary. – Yours, etc,

KATHARINA Ó CATHAOIR

Associate Professor

in Health Law,

University of Copenhagen,

Denmark.

Sir, – The Government intends to deny access to restaurants to the unvaccinated, no doubt the first of many measures that will be stated to be “temporary”.

One does not need to be a lawyer to know that compulsory medical treatment runs counter to the individual’s fundamental human rights.

Government clearly has the power to nudge its citizens towards vaccination in the name of public health by putting minor inconveniences into the path of the unvaccinated, from PCR tests to fines.

However, denying a portion of its citizens access to the normal spaces – public and private – of social life, is no longer a nudge, but coercion.

Even those of us, such as myself, who believe strongly in vaccination as a good, must question such an approach and the value that those proposing these measures place on the principles of consent and individual liberty. What is freedom, if it is not the freedom to be wrong? – Yours, etc,

NEIL MADDOX

Lecturer in Law and

Biotechnology,

Maynooth University,

Co Kildare.

Sir, – The National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) recent forecasts for infections, hospitalisations and deaths as a result of the Delta variant came as a shock to most people and apparently some Ministers also.

The numbers seem very out of sync with European and UK forecasts. While the European Centre for Disease Control and most EU countries expect the Delta variant to become the dominant strain by the end of August, they are not forecasting the kind of deaths and hospitalisations numbers that Nphet is forecasting, even comparing against its more optimistic modelling scenarios.

Is it not time that all of the underlying data, detailed assumptions, variables and numerical analysis are made public for independent numerical and epidemiological analysis ?

Nphet’s forecasts and advice, along with the resulting Government policies, need buy in from the public. I fear without independent scrutiny it will be a confidence hard won. – Yours, etc,

KARL O’CONNELL ,

Dalkey, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Have we become a nation of conspiracy theorists or have all the conspiracy theorists in the nation become outspoken.

I am so tired of listening to those people who seem to think that Nphet is deliberately setting out to ruin our lives by preventing us from engaging in the activities that bring us together in close proximity – meeting in pubs; dining in restaurants; attending sporting events in large numbers – to name just a few.

Our hospitality sector repeatedly tells us it is deeply concerned about its “survival”. That may be an accurate description of their situation. However, they will have a chance to turn around any disaster they may encounter. Sadly, we can’t say the same for so many of our people who may encounter Covid.

Keep up the good work Nphet et al, if you’re going to err, err on the side of caution. Hospitality sector, hold tight. We miss you but want to be absolutely sure it’s safe to go back before we do. It’s in everybody’s best interest. – Yours, etc,

SEÁN MALONE,

Dublin 16.

Sir, – During a government controversy, former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher made the famous comment, “Advisers advise, ministers decide” which most saw as a statement of the obvious.

In modern Ireland, we have managed to turn this on its head. The current Irish version of that famous riposte is, “Advisers decide, Ministers roll over”. – Yours, etc,

PAT GRIFFIN,

Lucan,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Why am I constantly bombarded via the media with pub and restaurant owners (sometimes multiple owners of same) crying about the lack of a plan etc.

I don’t see any of those who lost loved ones due to the erroneous opening of same pubs and restaurants at Christmas time being interviewed about their plans now that life has changed forever.

The media has lost the plot; completely out of touch with a huge portion of the population.

– Yours, etc,

EDDIE COTTER,

Ballinhassig,

Co Cork.