Monday, September 28, 2020

By Vivienne Clarke

Public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally has said that schools should consider hiring marquees in which classes could be held.

Ventilation, sunlight and staying out of doors as much as possible were important, he added.

Keeping pupils and staff safe should be the priority, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show. “We should be looking at how we can open windows and have outdoor classrooms.”

Dr Scally also warned that it is still not known what damage Covid-19 can cause to the body in the long term. A small, but significant, proportion will suffer long term damage. “The bodily changes in years to come could come back to bite us.

“We can’t afford to be singing and dancing on the streets.”

If this was an outbreak of an animal disease agreements would already be in place between the Republic and Northern Ireland, Dr Scally said. He said there were practical implications for integrated measures and that it did not make sense to have different systems, different isolation times, different licensing times across the border. “It just doesn’t make sense.”

It was important to monitor numbers and to watch out for pressure on hospitals, he added. “The virus is capable of doubling very quickly and if cases continue to rise then more resources will be needed.”

Dr Scally said that the Government’s message needs to be very clear and that the behaviour of some people needs to be tackled, not through draconian legal measures, “but if that needs to happen, it should happen.”

The virus was like a pan of milk over the fire, if it was neglected it could boil over, he warned.

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