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Following the Taoiseach’s announcement yesterday that restrictions may be eased in stages every two to three weeks, Róisín Shortall, TD and co-leader of the Social Democrats, has repeated calls for an expert-led Task Force to plan a coordinated, cross-sector exit strategy.

She said, “While public health authorities will of course have the principal input, other considerations need to be included in planning the slow road back to the resumption of normal life. In planning the exit strategy, it is important that other sector leaders across health and mental health, public safety, business, transport, education, industry, logistical planning, and more be brought together to create one coordinated plan.

“Right now, the group heading up this task is the Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 and it is hard to see how the necessary skill-set or expertise is provided there. We cannot risk an exit strategy based on political motivation or influenced more heavily by one sector over another. A full range of voices is needed to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach.

“The immediate priority must be to get the full testing and contact tracing regime up and running, not only for confirmed cases but also for asymptomatic carriers. In the context of a lifting of restrictions, there is a real possibility of a second wave of infections occurring. In that scenario it is vital that rigorous testing and tracing can be resumed quickly, and we need a united front to make that happen.

“I have raised this with the Taoiseach in the Dáil, and I am again calling on him today to urgently establish this Task Force so that the public can continue living in safety as we map the road back to normality.”


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