Prominent Limerick doctor appeals for patience as lockdown is extended

Top Limerick doctor appeals for patience as lockdown is extended

Dr Catherine Motherway supports the government's cautious approach to easing Covid-19 restrictions

AS the country faces into a further five weeks of Level 5 restrictions, a leading consultant has appealed to people to stick with their efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Catherine Motherway, an intensive care  consultant at UHL, was speaking ahead of the formal publication of the Government’s revised Living with Covid framework.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Dr Motherway said she supports a cautious lifting of restrictions.

“I think what we need is a degree of patience. There is light now – this time last year we didn’t know what was coming. This time last year, we were witnessing scenes in Italy which were horrendous and we now know that we have the vaccine,” she told Today with Claire Byrne.

“​We still have a lot of work to do with the patients we have in hospital and we need to continue to drive down the figures so we don’t see people get this disease while there is in fact a cure and a prevention available to us. So while we are waiting for the vaccine I think being careful is very appropriate,” she added.

As was widely expected, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed, last night, that the current Level 5 restrictions will remain in place until at least April 5.

Ahead of the phased re-opening of schools under the revised plan, Michael Cregan, principal of Laurel Hill Secondary School, said he is cautiously optimistic.

“We welcome schools opening at any level. I think teachers and students want to be in school. It has been prioritised, and that we welcome. But we are cautiously optimistic around it. There is a worry the numbers are still quite high with Covid, and certainly in ICU, and that is a concern to us. Safety for students and staff has to be the most important factor in schools returning,” he said.

“We are disappointed detail has not come out on how the oral and practical exams will be conducted over Easter. We have no information from the Department of Education or the State Examinations Commission. We'd like clarification on that as soon as possible,” he added.

One sector which will not be re-opening any time soon is the hospitality sector.

However, Paul Flannery, the recently-elected chairman of the Limerick City Vintners Association, says clarity needs to be given as soon as possible.

“If we knew a framework in terms of what the thinking is in terms of re-opening the economy, that would be great. Then we can plan and set the wheels in motion to get staff trained back up, and re-engaged with the businesses.

“A lot of them will have to rehire as many of their old staff would have gone as we've been closed for so long, and others just need to re-engage with their regular staff. So we need a lead-in time,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Last night, 27 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in Limerick.

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