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Limerick Minister calls for public to 'listen to public health officials'

Limerick Minister calls for public to 'listen to public health officials'

Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan

Limerick Minister Patrick O’Donovan TD, has today issued an appeal to people in Limerick to listen to the advice of the public health officials and to help our health service locally from being overwhelmed.

The Minister was responding to recent data from this week which shows that Ireland now has the highest rate of COVID infection per million of population over fourteen days in the World.

“The rate of increase in infection and the ballooning of numbers of those who have tested positive for the virus is truly frightening and it is fair to say that ever corner of the country, urban and rural is now seeing high rates of infection. Here in Limerick we have some of the highest figures in Ireland and we know that this is piling on the pressure on an already very stretched University Hospital Limerick Group.”

“We also know given that there is a lag in many cases from the time a person becomes infected to the time that a person becomes very sick can be a number of days, so it is likely based on the figures for the last fortnight that the numbers who will need to go to hospital here in the Mid-West could increase.”

“While there have been some reductions nationally in the last few days, the overall picture for Ireland is multiples of what it was before Christmas. We have gone from a situation where we were one of the best in Europe, to being one of the infected countries in the world per head of population. This has happened incredibly quickly, and it shows us all here in Limerick just how quickly this virus is spreading from person to person in the community.”

Patrick O’Donovan said he is very much aware of the pressures and strains that people are under trying to battle COVID. “My constituency office is one of the busiest in the Country, and while we are working remotely we are still providing a full service, and I know based on the calls and emails that we are receiving that many people are struggling. Parents of special needs children, isolated elderly people, operators of small businesses, people who have been lost their jobs, and locals of many other different backgrounds have all been in touch with queries and their individual stories are very difficult.”

“However the most difficult calls from are people who have lost loved ones, and are asking questions like whether people can travel to funerals to say goodbye. This really is a harrowing time for many, and I know on a daily basis from contacts that I have across Co. Limerick, that this terrible virus continues to claim the lives of people that are loved across our communities.”

Patrick O’Donovan said that he does continue to have hope against the backdrop of so much pain, given the approval by the European Medicines Agency of more vaccines, and the roll-out of the programme. “I know that people are anxious to get the injection. I have people calling and emailing me on a daily basis, either on their own behalf or on behalf of a loved one. But we must stay the course and allow the programme to deliver its schedule, and while we wait we must try to follow the advice, of staying apart, washing our hands and wearing a mask.”

“So again, my appeal to people is to stay safe. To mind ourselves and those we love and care for. This is a dark time for Ireland, but the assurance of a vaccine during the course of 2021 must keep us all going for another few months. These months may well be the toughest in modern Irish History, but we can see the finish line up ahead for all of us, and that is why we must keep going. Stay safe and let’s mind each other.”

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