Taoiseach considering local lockdowns in a bid to stop renewed surge of COVID-19

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Micheal Martin is considering local lockdowns in the fightback against a resurgent coronavirus.

Mr Martin told Dublin Live he is looking at a “localised approach” that is now being “considered for the future”.

And when Dublin Live asked him if this policy could be as localised as singling out an individual town perhaps, he replied: “It will be.”

The policy shift from the leader of the Government comes as Covid-19 case figures repeatedly hit around 50 in recent days.

The Taoiseach’s new comments also come after a leading expert, Trinity’s Professor Tomas Ryan, warned that local lockdowns could be with us “within weeks” if radical policy changes aren’t introduced.

And the new Taoiseach also said that new restrictions could be on the cards in the battle to stop the renewed spread of the supervirus, as he told Dublin Live: “Nobody can rule out anything here, OK.”

Mr Martin was speaking to Dublin Live at the end of a testy Dáil term that has seen the Fianna Fáil leader at last crowned Taoiseach.

But the last month since he took office has been a tumultuous one, as Covid has dominated his agenda. 

It will continue to do so for the coming months at least and so the rookie Taoiseach will be taking little time off this summer, “a day or two here and there”, as he leads the charge against Covid personally.

He told the Mirror that localised lockdowns are being considered as part of the Government’s arsenal in the ongoing war against the virus.

Mr Martin said: “We haven’t ruled out a localised approach with certain outbreaks and clusters and that’s something that could be considered in the future.”

The Taoiseach told reporters at a post-Cabinet press briefing as recently as July 15 that regional or local lockdowns were not being considered.

But now he has emphasised how in earlier stages that “all the phases in the first phases were national”.

And then he added: “What you’re looking at is a different kind of approach.

“We learned an awful lot from the first phase.

“But there are no guarantees here.”

The Taoiseach is prepared to introduce new restrictions if needs be to stop Covid.

He said: “Nobody can rule out anything here, OK.

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“Nobody can rule out anything in terms of how we respond to repeated outbreaks or clusters.”

Mr Martin added: “What is important is to have certain constants, and one of those has to be our testing and contact tracing capacity and we will continue to engage with the HSE in that regard.

“That is the most effective way to contain the virus.

“Where clusters break out, you get on top of the cluster, you identify people.

“That’s why, likewise, with certain vulnerable groups we’re saying, making it very clear to people working in the meat industry for example, and the food industry, that whatever happens, put your hand up, in terms of social protection, and we will make sure that, one, you don’t lose your job.

“And if you’re out of your job for two or three weeks that we will make sure you get your payments and that you won’t be out of pocket.”

Source: Dublin News