Limerick doctor says Ireland 'needs to go into lockdown as soon as possible'

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Limerick doctor says Ireland 'needs to go into lockdown as soon as possible'

Dr Nicola Stapleton, GP in Limerick city

A LIMERICK doctor enduring the Covid-19 turmoil has called on the Government to “go into lockdown as soon as possible” to prevent more deaths in Ireland. 

Dr Nicola Stapleton, a GP in the city centre, has said that each additional delay in introducing such measures “will lead to more deaths”. 

There are now 1,125 cases in Ireland, following the largest surge of 215 cases since Sunday. Six deaths have been recorded, half of whom having recorded underlying health problems. 

At present, more than 1.7 billion people across the world are in lockdown — a fifth of the world’s population. 

A shock to the whole world, UK prime minister Boris performed a major u-turn in its Covid-19 strategy and called for a three-week lockdown across the country, including Northern Ireland. 

Following a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team this Tuesday, the Cabinet is expected to introduce new restrictions, including the closure of a range of non-essential businesses. This could include restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, and many more. 

This is not the same as a lockdown, which has been mooted by local politicians.

Dr Stapleton said that a lot of her patients are being referred for Covid-19 testing in the past two weeks. And while are no really ill patients yet, “the people who are going to get quite sick tend to get sick around day 8, which for a lot of my patients, will be next week”. 

Speaking to the Leader this week, she said doctors have been working above capacity “and I can see that situation worsening very rapidly”.

One of the difficulties, she said, has been the sourcing of essential equipment. 

“I managed to get masks for the surgery at our local co-op and a very kind  dental colleague donated us some too. We had been making up home-made surgical gel as there is none available, but the HSE have sent us out some supplies as well, and are really working hard to get things sorted,” she said. 

She said the “scariest thing” is that she continues to see groups of teenagers and adults hanging out which, she said, “is going to escalate this crisis”. 

“It's quite incredible that people are not listening to the public health and Government messages, which are very clear.

“I think Ireland needs to go into lockdown as soon as possible. Looking at the current situation in Italy/Fance/Spain, we need to shut down all non essential services to try and reduce the spread of Covid 19. Each additional day's delay will lead to more deaths  and as a society we need to do as much as we can to try and reduce these numbers.”