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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

January lockdown could happen after ‘likely’ Covid Christmas spike


by Jennifer McShane
10th Dec 2020
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While we’re only just out of a six-week Covid lockdown, Government officials have not confirmed but won’t deny that a January lockdown in Ireland is “likely” after an inevitable Covid Christmas spike


Tánaiste Leo Varadkar confirmed this week the Government haven’t ruled out the possibility the country may have to face further restrictions after the Christmas period as he predicted a rise in cases of Covid-19.

He said an increase in cases was “likely” when people are mixing again up and into the festive season.

“We have never ruled out the possibility that we would need to reintroduce restrictions for a short period in January,” The Tánaiste said on Morning Ireland. Asked whether another lockdown would be on the cards if cases rise in January, he said this would be decided closer to the time. “”That’ll have to be decided at the time, depending on what the numbers look like.”

Also this week, Dr Tony Holohan warned a ‘challenging’ level of COVID-19 cases in January is “more likely than not” after he explained that NPHET believes the daily case numbers have hit a low point, and will fall no further this side of Christmas.

Passed the low point

“The five-day average now is just under 290 cases – we’re bottoming out, as it were. We think we’ve passed the low-point,” he said earlier this week.

“Even though we believe there are measures we can recommend… to minimise the risk of that, if we ask ourselves honestly how likely it is that we might avert a significant surge in infection in January… we think it’s probably less likely than more likely.”

He still urged people to limit the activities they choose to do over the coming weeks, even with restrictions lifted.

“If you go to the shops, followed by a visit to a restaurant, followed by a visit to museum, gallery or whatever takes you’re fancy… if you do all those things you’re going to increase your opportunity to pick up this infection.”

In a letter to the Government, he said case numbers did not fall far enough after the last lockdown, and that they are already rising again. This is, of course, risky with Christmas is approaching with all the potentially risky socialising that entails.

Though it is worth bearing in mind that Ireland has the lowest 14-day incidence of the virus in Europe, and this rate has dropped 25 per cent over the previous 14 days.

Hope

Hope is on the horizon, however, with news of the Covid vaccine.

The government has published their allocation strategy for the Covid-19 vaccine, revealing which groups will be prioritised in the rollout.

The strategy will prioritise those over 65 living in long-term facilities, followed by healthcare workers in direct patient contact, and so on for various other societal groups. The entire strategy has broken the Irish public down into 15 distinct groupings, and has clarified the order in which they will be vaccinated. You can read more about this here.

Main photograph: Unsplash


Read more: “I’ve made the decision not to travel home for Christmas”: How to get through an unfamiliar December

Read more: Enniskillen woman becomes first in the world to receive Pfizer vaccine for Covid-19

Read more: The end of the pandemic is in sight. Here’s to the new roaring 20s