Areas can become a testbed for living with Covid-19
This afternoon Denis Naughten asked An Taoiseach to consider relaxing restrictions on returning to work in parts of the country which have seen consistently low numbers of Covid-19 infection.
He said: “It makes no sense that parts of the country with low rates of Covid-19 infection should remain in lockdown to the same extent as areas where there is a significant problem, particularly when this was specifically provided for in legislation under Section 10 of Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020.”
This is not about a lifting of all restrictions but for example allowing older people to leave their homes or increase the 2km movement restriction to 5km in areas with low levels of infection.
Deputy Naughten was responding to the request from Government on proposals for the easing of restrictions over time and he again reiterated his call of last week in Dáil Éireann that “as a first step, Government should list specific businesses that can open under certain conditions”.
Denis Naughten added: “But we must go further and allow people to act in a responsible and mature manner themselves. That is allow those who can clearly demonstrate social distancing to go back to work, be it working on their own or working outside.
“In counties where there have been very low levels of Covid-19 infection there should be a further measured relaxation of restrictions on movements but only where people returning to work, or those meeting others outside of their families, cover their mouths and noses from this point on. I am referring to face coverings, not medical face masks, which we all acknowledge are in short supply.
“In general, the areas with low incidence of Covid-19 are our more rural communities, areas which can be used as a ‘test bed’ for the future relaxation of measures in our cities.
“After such heroic efforts by every citizen in this State to stop the spread of this virus we cannot allow a second wave of infection under any circumstances. So we must remain cautious in how we relax restrictions, but we must also learn to live with Covid-19 which will be with us for a considerable time to come.”
Amendment of Act of 1947
10. The Act of 1947 is amended by the insertion of the following sections after section 31:
“Regulations for preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing spread of
31A. (1) The Minister may, having regard to the immediate, exceptional and
manifest risk posed to human life and public health by the spread of
Covid-19 and to the matters specified in subsection (2), make
regulations for the purpose of preventing, limiting, minimising or
slowing the spread of Covid-19 (including the spread outside the
State) or where otherwise necessary, to deal with public health risks
arising from the spread of Covid-19 and, without prejudice to the
generality of the foregoing, such regulations may, in particular,
provide for all or any of the following:
(a) restrictions to be imposed upon travel to or from the State;
(b) restrictions to be imposed upon travel to, from or within
geographical locations to which an affected areas order applies;
(c) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b), restrictions to
be imposed upon persons or classes of persons resident in, working
in or visiting locations referred to in paragraph (b) including (but
not limited to)—
(i) requiring persons to remain in their homes, or
(ii) without prejudice to any other provisions of this Act or
regulations made thereunder requiring persons to remain in such
other places, as may be specified by the Minister;