TD, Marian Harkin
“NPHET and the Government should consider relaxing Covid restrictions on a county basis in counties where the 14-day incidence rate is low, for example, below 50 per 100,000, or below 100 per 100,000, depending on the scientific analysis”. This was stated by Independent TD, Marian Harkin, in the context of the most recent Covid figures.
She said, “I am not speaking about a full relaxation of restrictions, rather a certain flexibility around travel within their own county, around training or individual sporting activity outside, around some re-opening of places of worship. People need hope, people need to have something they can work towards. People need a timeline of some sort. Counties like Leitrim have the lowest 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 in the country, at 34. Kilkenny and Cork are also below 50 per 100,000. These statistics need to be taken into consideration when NPHET and the Cabinet review Covid restrictions post April 5th”.
She continued, “throughout Covid, I have received emails, calls and texts from people, but the tone has changed in the last few weeks. More and more people are becoming desperate to see a pathway towards a new normal. We are locked down since Christmas and some people are very close to breaking point. For too many, especially young people, their mental health is deteriorating”.
“I am not blaming the Government or NPHET for the current situation and I understand we are still in the middle of a pandemic, but our response to current restrictions needs to be measured and it needs to be proportionate. When numbers increased in certain counties last year, the Government decided to put Laois, Offaly and Kildare into Level 5, while the rest of the country remained in Level 3 plus. It worked, so my question is, why not re-examine policy in light of the fact that certain counties have very low incidence levels and take that into consideration when reassessing Covid restrictions after April 5th”, Marian Harkin concluded.