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No move back to blanket closures if Covid-19 resurges – chief medic

Dr Tony Holohan said if a resurgence of the disease occurs, the same measures would not need to be taken.

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Damian McVicker, working for Heineken Ireland, collecting out of date stock from a premises in Dublin’s city centre with deliveries set to begin later this month as bars will be able to reopen on June 29 if they serve food and have table service (Brian Lawless/PA)

Damian McVicker, working for Heineken Ireland, collecting out of date stock from a premises in Dublin’s city centre with deliveries set to begin later this month as bars will be able to reopen on June 29 if they serve food and have table service (Brian Lawless/PA)

Damian McVicker, working for Heineken Ireland, collecting out of date stock from a premises in Dublin’s city centre with deliveries set to begin later this month as bars will be able to reopen on June 29 if they serve food and have table service (Brian Lawless/PA)

Different measures will be taken in the event of a second surge in coronavirus cases, rather than the implementation of a full lockdown, Ireland’s chief medical officer has said.

Dr Tony Holohan said the country knows a lot more about Covid-19 than it did in March when lockdown measures and restrictions were first introduced.

He said if there was a second wave or resurgence of the disease, the same measures would not need to be taken.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“I wouldn’t be anticipating at this point in time that we would be moving back to blanket closures in the way we did in March,” he said.

“What we what we will be doing over the next couple of weeks is meeting with NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) and looking at a scenario where we have a resurgence of the disease, what measures we will take or what would be appropriate,” Dr Holohan told RTE radio.

“If a resurgence of the disease happened or a second wave, we would know what specific measures to take, having done our work proactively.

“The population’s behaviour is very different now than it was in March and people understand more about the disease and the risks and how they can protect themselves when it comes to hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.”

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John Crowley (right), first in line oustide Arnotts department store on Henry Street in Dublin, as it reopens for the first time after lockdown restrictions were eased in the Republic of Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

John Crowley (right), first in line oustide Arnotts department store on Henry Street in Dublin, as it reopens for the first time after lockdown restrictions were eased in the Republic of Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

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John Crowley (right), first in line oustide Arnotts department store on Henry Street in Dublin, as it reopens for the first time after lockdown restrictions were eased in the Republic of Ireland (Brian Lawless/PA)

The message on wearing face coverings has not gotten through to the public, he said.

He said the protective materials should used on public transport and in shops, official advice urged but they are not mandatory in any setting.

Dr Holohan added that a new national campaign is being rolled out around the wearing of face coverings.

It follows a recommendation from the NPHET on Thursday.

The campaign will outline best practice for the use of face coverings in areas such as retail outlets, on public transport and in other public locations where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing.

“The message hasn’t fully gotten through… We’d like to see a higher level of compliance where social distancing can’t be maintained,” he said.

Dr Holohan says the reason the virus has been suppressed to its current rate is because the public has been compliant in relation to the published guidance, but reiterated “we need to step up this measure” in relation to face masks.

Travellers in Dublin and Cork Airport will be asked to wear face masks from next Tuesday, while anyone not taking a flight will be advised to not enter the terminal buildings.

Chief communications officer with the Dublin Airport Authority, Paul O’Kane, said airports are getting prepared for a surge in travellers.

He told Newstalk FM: “We’re working now to get organised and get planned for when passenger numbers will ramp up, ’cause they will ramp up in the future.

“We’re strongly recommending that face masks or face coverings are worn by passengers in all buildings, we also have a strong recommendation for our staff to wear face masks – those’ll be mandatory in some areas.

“We’re asking passengers who are not travelling not to enter the terminal buildings, and that’s to help us enforce social distancing.

“We also have a really enhanced cleaning regime, we have social distancing signage right up throughout the terminals.”

On Thursday, NPHET announced a further eight deaths and eight cases of Covid-19.

There have now been 1,703 fatalities.

PA