Tomás Ryan: Is Ireland’s strategy to live with or ‘eliminate’ coronavirus?

Only a conscious decision to implement the necessary measures will lead to its elimination

A member of staff wears a face shield and mask at the Nespresso store in Dublin.  Photograph:  Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A member of staff wears a face shield and mask at the Nespresso store in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Where are we now? As we enter the summer months, and restrictions are relaxed, Covid-19 cases have been consistently reduced to low double digits. On June 7th, we had 25 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Just like March 12th. In contrast, in New Zealand, June 8th was the 17th day since their last new Covid-19 case, and prime minister Jacinda Ardern declared elimination of the virus.

What is the difference between June 7th and March 12th in Ireland? In March we were unprepared for what was coming. We did not have guidance or decision-making on the use of face masks. We did not have an adequate infrastructure for Sars-CoV-2 testing and contact tracing. We did not have clear rules and instructions on contact quarantine. We chose not to restrict travel from countries with a high prevalence of the virus.

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