IRELAND’S Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has said that there is ‘no certainty’ that the spread of Covid-19 can be kept suppressed
Dr Holohan was speaking with the Dáil’s Covid-19 committee.
Dr Holohan is the chair of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and he addressed today’s meeting.
Outlining the worldwide impact of the coronavirus, Dr Holohan said that there had been over 4.5 million cases with 24,200 of those in Ireland.
“Sadly, 1,547 people in Ireland have lost their lives,” he said.
“I am acutely conscious of the grief that people have experienced over the past three months.”
“It became clear from an early stage that this would become a significant challenge for the world.”
“It is equally true that the world’s experience with this virus is still unfolding, with tragic consequences for many countries, irrespective of levels of preparedness, wealth or development.”
Dr Holohan said that there had been ‘high levels of preparedness’ in Ireland, but noted that it quickly became clear that Covid-19 was ‘very different’.
H”e said: The ease of its transmission, its severity, particularly for those who are vulnerable, combined with the fact that there is no natural immunity to this virus, no medicines available for its specific treatment and no vaccines, has presented an unprecedented global public health challenge.”
Since the end of January, the NPHET has held 31 meetings.
The role of NPHET, Dr Holohan said, was to ‘provide clear advice to the public on how to protect themselves, their families and their communities, and to provide advice to Government, when it was necessary to do so, regarding wider societal public health measures’.
He said: “By mid-March, it became evident that unprecedented action was needed to prevent spread of infection and high rates of hospitalisation and ICU admissions and significant mortality.
“Our collective actions have suppressed the infection and protected the health of people in this country and undoubtedly saved lives.”
However, he warned committee members that there was ‘no certainty’ that the spread can be kept suppressed.
The Secretary General of the Department of Health, Jim Breslin, added: “This is not a one, two or even a three-day storm, after which we move to the recovery phase.
“The acute phase of this crisis will definitely be measured in months and most probably in years, rather than days.
He stated bluntly: “The threat from the virus will be a reality for the foreseeable future.”Tags: