Zero Covid island strategy needed or reduced economic activity and continuing disruption will continue

Experts across science and medicine from Ireland and abroad want green zone created

Zero Covid island strategy needed or reduced economic activity and continuing disruption will continue

A Zero-Covid Island is our only viable exit strategy from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which may otherwise last for years or indefinitely, a group of leading Irish scientists and medical experts have warned.

They say that without a Zero-Covid island, the best outcome we can hope for is that the current state of affairs will continue, perhaps for years.

Persistent and justified fear of Covid-19 risk will cripple our society and destroy businesses and jobs, just as badly as the lockdown did, if not more so.

The signatories include Professor Sam McConkey, RCSI, Professor Anthony Staines, DCU and Professor Gabriel Scally.

They called for a Green Zone strategy with local relaxation of restrictions, wherever there is no community transmission. “Where community transmission continues we need to patiently maintain and enhance the hygiene, social distancing and restrictions that have taken us so far already. We need to normalise and legally enforce wearing masks, indoors in public spaces and outdoors in crowds,” they say.

“Unless we take immediate and decisive action, we will pay a very heavy price, with many people getting sick, being admitted to ICU and dying,” they add.

Many businesses will fold, because a second wave will bring a second dip in activity, whether from government policy, or customer fears, which will extend their losses well into 2021. There is no guarantee that an effective vaccine will be developed, though there is some reason for hope. Even if an effective vaccine is developed, it may take a number of years to become widely available in sufficient quantities, they say.

"Relaxing restrictions before we get to a Zero-COVID island risks a second wave, as seen in Israel, Serbia, Australia and Japan. Unless we take immediate and decisive action, we will pay a very heavy price, with many people getting sick, being admitted to ICU and dying. Many businesses will fold, because a second wave will bring a second dip in activity, whether from government policy, or customer fears, which will extend their losses well into 2021," the group added.

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