STAY AT HOME

30 April 2020 No Comments by The Northern Standard

The patent wisdom and good sense of the Stay At Home message being imparted by the Gardaí’s Operation Fanacht campaign to prevent breaches of the prevailing Covid-19 travel restrictions this Bank Holiday weekend should not really need re-emphasis. But we are compelled to editorially reinforce it nonetheless in a local and national climate which over the past week has been clouded by visible signs of public discomfort and impatience with the measures introduced to keep the reach of the pandemic we are currently grappling with within parameters with which our health services can cope.

We perhaps inadvertently contributed to the chaffing against the current restraints when we last week editorially speculated on the easing of Covid-19 control measures when their current phase reaches its conclusion on Tuesday May 5 next. We were reflecting the mood of the moment, but one thing our current circumstances teaches us is that our situation can shift significantly in the space of a few short days and not always in a positive direction.

While Ireland is coping comparatively well with the challenges presented by the Coronavirus, and the vast majority of people are still self-sacrificially committing themselves to the preservation of the common good, we have not made sufficient advances in the reduction of cases and fatalities to justify the appreciable lessening of restrictions that was being anticipated a week ago. Indeed the sense of worry and concern has deepened within our own circulation area with the emphasis given in recent days to the significantly high number of cases manifesting in counties Monaghan and Cavan.

While our proximity to the Border has been cited as a possible factor, and legitimate concerns have been raised by politicians and others about the lacuna in the powers given to the Gardaí which limits the imposition of travel restriction cautions and penalties on those from the neighbouring jurisdiction, it would be incorrect – and potentially damaging – to explain away the intensity of Covid-19 cases in our midst by pointing accusing fingers Northwards. While it is important that a co-operative exchange of information between the two jurisdictions on this island is enhanced, and the manner in which restrictions on travel are policed is more closely aligned, a much more holistic view of the reasons for this disturbing statistical feature of the epidemic on our island must be taken in any formal investigative procedure of the type being urged by Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy and others.

It may well be that the reason for the apparent flare-up in cases in this and the neighbouring county is rooted in the way that statistics are being collated and circulated, and that an improvement in testing time periods and a more interrogative approach to causes of death in cluster locations such as nursing homes not just locally but nationally might in time cause a more detailed and perhaps less troubling picture to emerge. But the figures cannot be ignored, and they should be borne in mind as a warning against complacency.

THE NEW PRIMATE
STAY AT HOME The patent wisdom and good sense of the Stay At Home message being imparted by the Gardaí’s Operation Fanacht campaign to prevent breaches of the prevailing Covid-19 travel restrictions this Bank Holiday weekend should not really need re-emphasis. But we are compelled to editorially reinforce it nonetheless in a local and national climate which over the past week has been clouded by visible signs of public discomfort and impatience with the measures introduced to keep the reach of the pandemic we are currently grappling with within parameters with which our health services can cope.

We perhaps inadvertently contributed to the chaffing against the current restraints when we last week editorially speculated on the easing of Covid-19 control measures when their current phase reaches its conclusion on Tuesday May 5 next. We were reflecting the mood of the moment, but one thing our current circumstances teaches us is that our situation can shift significantly in the space of a few short days and not always in a positive direction. While Ireland is coping comparatively well with the challenges presented by the Coronavirus, and the vast majority of people are still self-sacrificially committing themselves to the preservation of the common good, we have not made sufficient advances in the reduction of cases and fatalities to justify the appreciable lessening of restrictions that was being anticipated a week ago.

Indeed the sense of worry and concern has deepened within our own circulation area with the emphasis given in recent days to the significantly high number of cases manifesting in counties Monaghan and Cavan. While our proximity to the Border has been cited as a possible factor, and legitimate concerns have been raised by politicians and others about the lacuna in the powers given to the Gardaí which limits the imposition of travel restriction cautions and penalties on those from the neighbouring jurisdiction, it would be incorrect – and potentially damaging – to explain away the intensity of Covid-19 cases in our midst by pointing accusing fingers Northwards.

While it is important that a co-operative exchange of information between the two jurisdictions on this island is enhanced, and the manner in which restrictions on travel are policed is more closely aligned, a much more holistic view of the reasons for this disturbing statistical feature of the epidemic on our island must be taken in any formal investigative procedure of the type being urged by Cavan/Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy and others.

It may well be that the reason for the apparent flare-up in cases in this and the neighbouring county is rooted in the way that statistics are being collated and circulated, and that an improvement in testing time periods and a more interrogative approach to causes of death in cluster locations such as nursing homes not just locally but nationally might in time cause a more detailed and perhaps less troubling picture to emerge. But the figures cannot be ignored, and they should be borne in mind as a warning against complacency.

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