Gardai are to increase Covid-19 checkpoints around the county over the St Patrick’s Day and Easter holidays, Donegal Daily has learned.
Garda sources said that particular attention would be paid to border areas as movements are expected to increase over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Ireland is in top ten for world’s harshest Covid measures.
This morning’s Irish edition of the Sunday times is reporting that Ireland has the eighth most stringent lockdown in the world, according to a database compiled by the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.
It shows that for 118 of the past 145 days, Ireland scored more than 80 out of 100 for the severity of its lockdown measures.
The scores are based on 19 metrics that include requirements for face coverings, school and business closures, travel restrictions, and economic supports. This weekend Ireland has a score of 84.26, with only Greece, on 88.9, and the United Kingdom, on 87.96, having more stringent lockdowns in Europe.
“Each country’s version of lockdown is different,” said Emily Cameron-Blake, a research assistant with the Oxford government tracker team. “In some places we’ve seen restrictions put in place after a few cases that became a cluster. That’s a preventative move. In Ireland you can see a dip and relaxation in stringency measures around Christmas, and then a full lockdown. I would say, in Ireland’s case, it has definitely been reactionary rather than preventative.”
Cameron-Blake said there had been increases in Covid case numbers in other countries as a result of Christmas gatherings or Ramadan, but nothing as dramatic as in Ireland, where a surge in cases plunged the country into its third level five lockdown.
With Ireland trailing Northern Ireland and Britain in vaccination progress, and warnings from ministers that there will be only a minimal lifting of restrictions on April 5 — and no haircuts until May at the earliest — the shutdown is starting to bite.
Niall Muldoon, the ombudsman for children, warned that Irish children were living in a “low-level melancholy”, with a lack of joy in their lives. The number of people waiting for primary-care psychological services is more than 10,000.
While the number of Covid patients in Irish hospitals is dropping steadily, much of the government and the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) focus remains on the daily number of positive cases, which hovers around 550. It has been reported that Nphet wants cases to fall below 200 before there is a significant easing of restrictions.