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Co-leader of the Social Democrats, Róisín Shortall TD, has called on the Government to aim for a safe level of daily Covid-19 cases before making a decision to lift current restrictions.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Shortall said:

“We now have record daily case numbers and I think it is important for the Government to recognise how we got to this point. Many of the decisions that were taken in the lead up to Christmas have put the country at serious risk and we are paying a very high price for that now.

“We knew in early December, when Level 5 was being lifted, that the numbers were dangerously high. The whole purpose of these restrictions was to bring the numbers down to between 50 and 100 cases per day. However, when the decision was taken to lift Level 5 in the first week of December, we had an average of 330 cases per day. By December 18, when household visits were allowed to resume, we had daily case numbers of 582.

“Even though the arrival of the vaccine is very positive news, it was a mistake for the Government to talk it up at a time when restrictions were being lifted as this gave people a false sense of security.

“The impact of the new UK variant is only starting to come through on the figures now and there is no guarantee that we will continue on the downward trajectory of the daily case numbers.

“Decisions have to be based on the reality of the situation and the science. Instead of talking about weeks or a particular point in time, the Government should consider leaving restrictions in place until we have achieved what is considered a safe number of daily cases.”

January 13, 2021

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