Donegal TD dismisses use of local lockdowns after Tánaiste says they are still an option

Thomas Pringle concerned easing of lockdown may be happening too soon

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Leo Varadkar said local lockdowns are a policy option if there is an outbreak in a particular region

A Donegal TD has questioned the effectiveness of local lockdowns after Tánaiste Leo Vardakar said localised measures are still an option to deal with outbreaks of Covid-19.

Mr Varadkar said local lockdowns are a policy option if there is an outbreak in a particular region.

The warning came two days after the Government outlined the latest phase of reopening. Hotels, B&Bs, guesthouses and self-catering accommodation can reopen for guests from Wednesday and outdoor services in bars and restaurants will recommence from June 7.


Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle described the suggestion as "the height of the Government's imagination", adding he does not think such measures are effective.

Donegal was threatened with a lockdown at the end of April as measures were about to be eased nationally due to the high rate of Covid-19 in the county.

Mr Pringle, who is an advocate of a zero Covid policy,  said the “jury is still out” on whether or not the Government is easing lockdown too early.

“I don't think they [lockdowns] work and don’t think it's something that we should be talking about. The cat is out of the bag now as they have eased the lockdown anyway.”

He questioned whether local lockdowns would be enough to deal with a rising Covid-19 rate.

“I think there is a risk that we could end up back in lockdown. I hope not, but I think there is a risk that we could.”

Mr Pringle said the Government should have held back on easing the lockdown until more people are vaccinated.

“The big danger is that not enough people are fully vaccinated. I don't want to be putting a dampener on it because I want everything to work out but I would be nervous. I think the reopening is too early.”

 

On Sunday, the Department of Health reported 374 new cases of Covid-19 with 99 confirmed cases in hospital of which 35 were in ICU.

 Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid said 50% of the population has received one vaccine dose and almost 20% are fully vaccinated.

He said the aim is to have 2.5 million people fully vaccinated by the end of July.



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