Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said that health authorities are still expecting a surge of cases to hit hospitals in the coming days and weeks.
Mr Coveney told a press briefing that the Government does not yet know if the greatly increased capacity in the hospital system will be sufficient to deal with it. Mr Coveney also suggested that the current restrictions may have to be extended beyond Easter Sunday.
He said that huge efforts had been made to “effectively double” bed capacity in the health system to create space in the hospital system to create space for patients “if we see a dramatic increase in the number of people that need hospital care – as we expect we will.”
“We don’t know yet whether it’s going to be enough. But what we can say is the more discipline the public shows in terms of complying with the restrictions . . . then the higher the likelihood that our system is going to be able to deal with the peak of this crisis when it happens,” he said.
But Mr Coveney also warned that the current restrictions may be extended beyond Easter Sunday.
“I think people do need to realise that these restrictions may go on for some time and it’s wrong to put a timeline on it,” he said.
“We’ve set an initial period but I think it may well be that we will need to go beyond that initial deadline. But again that will be a decision taken with the best public health advice that we can get.”
He said there were good signs that the spread of the virus had been limited by the measures introduced in recent weeks.
“We have certainly see the spread of this virus staying below what the expectation might have been a few days ago and certainly a few weeks ago. But we would be wrong to be complacent because we have seen in other countries how quickly the spread can accelerate,” he said.
The Tánaiste was speaking at a press conference at Government Buildings which announced details of a new initiative – the “Community Call” – which will link volunteers, local authorities, community and voluntary associations to help people in isolation due to Covid-19.
From The Irish Times.