Covid-19 increase in south Donegal leaves area on 'knife edge'

Plea for people to stay at home after alarming increase in incidence rate

New Covid-19  test centre  in Donegal Town

The Covid-19 rate in south Donegal has almost trebled

Parts of south Donegal are “on a knife edge” following a sharp increase in the Covid-19 rate in the area, it has been warned.
Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Donegal local electoral area Barry Sweeny has made a plea to people to avoid new year parties and adhere to Covid-19 regulations following an alarming increase in the 14-day incidence rate in south Donegal.
The Ballyshannon-based councillor said some people “are afraid of their life” after several cases in the town and the increase in the south Donegal area.
He said the increase in the rate showed how the virus can spread so quickly.
“It shows how quickly things can change that we are almost on a knife edge.”

Alarming increase

While the area’s rate is about a third of the north Inishowen area, which has the highest rate in the county, the rate of the increase in south Donegal has caused alarm.
The rate in the area over the 14 days up to December 21 almost trebled from the previous week, increasing from 71.7 to 207.6 with 55 cases over 14 days.
“It is quite frightening for a lot of people. Some people are acting quite normally and others are afraid of their life and haven’t left their house since March,” Cllr Sweeny said.
“One individual or one small group of people who get the virus can change a town or change a community. It broke in Ballyshannon in the days coming to Christmas and it changed the atmosphere in the town where people were much more aware all of a sudden.
“No matter what rules you put in place, no matter what kind of recommendations are in place, it’s down to everybody’s personal responsibility. The personal responsibility is the making or breaking of how this all pans out. Unfortunately, there are people who decide to ignore the recommendations or believe it is not going to happen to them.”

New year
The Fine Gael councillor appealed to people to “hold off”.
“There will be plenty of new year’s parties in the future with the help of God and we will get back to a kind of normality.
“But this time around, I really would be saying to everyone to just sit back and hold off and use a little bit of restraint and common sense.”
Donegal TD Thomas Pringle said an increase in cases was “inevitable” because of the easing of restrictions.
He said the Government had ended the lockdown “far too early” before Christmas.
“I think they should have continued the lockdown up until the week before Christmas. Then you might have had some chance of maintaining the numbers down but the Government decided in response to lobbying from businesses [to ease restrictions].
“It was inevitable that numbers were going to increase anyway as people let their guard down before Christmas and with the run up to Christmas and people going shopping, it was going to increase.”

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