'A short, hard lockdown to knock the virus on the head again.'
Leo Varadkar has responded to rising Covid cases in Ireland today, saying that a 'circuit break' style lockdown may be necessary to reduce positive cases in the country.
Yesterday, 1012 new cases were reported in Ireland, with CMO Tony Holohan confirming he was 'very worried' about the increasing numbers.
Writing in the Sunday Independent today, the Tánaiste echoed Holohan's sentiment, stating that a circuit breaker, such as has been experimented with in Israel, may be necessary at this point.
'This would represent a short, hard lockdown to knock the virus on the head again, and reduce case numbers to a manageable level. Similar to a second lockdown – but not as long.
'It may well be needed at some point. No other country in Europe has tried this. It would be an experiment but it could work. In Israel is seems to be producing results.
'I know some say that a circuit break could save Christmas. I am not so sure. The problem is that when you’re in full lockdown it’s difficult to get out of it. As we’ve already learned, reopening is a lot harder than locking down.'
Last week, NPHET urged the government to move to Level 5 of the Living with Covid plan due to worrying trends in the virus.
The government instead reintroduced Level 3 restrictions across the country. In today's article, Varadkar explains the government's thinking:
“So when the politicians and senior civil servants sat around the table the next day we had to consider the bigger picture: what a sudden move to Level 5 would mean for jobs, livelihoods, mental health and family life,” he said.
“We were unanimous in our view that the country was not ready for a second lockdown and that we should move to Level 3 restrictions first, with the option of further restrictions if required.”