We will be facing into a third lockdown for Valentine’s Day unless urgent action is taken to analyse the information gathered from the 67,000 Covid positive cases to see how best to avoid the spread of Covid-19 here in Ireland, says Denis Naughten TD.

“A huge amount of information is being collected by the 11 contact tracing centres across the country into how people who tested positive for Covid-19 picked up the virus in the first place. However to date there has been no deep analysis of this information along with laboratory, hospital and digital data on population movements across Ireland over the last eight months,” said Denis Naughten.

“This information must be used to redesign the Covid rules not just on the run into Christmas but more importantly to ensure that we do not have a further lockdown in 2021 when we face further surges in Covid 19 infection rates.

“UCC researchers who correctly predicted the surge in Covid-19 infection in October/November have also predicted two further surges in infection in February and May/June. It is vital that we now put very specific measures in place that would save Christmas but also protect against future lockdowns next year.

“We need to design a system which means that people who test positive and their close contacts are locked down instead of the current blunt county-wide or country-wide lockdowns which have not been effective in preventing the surge of infection last month” added Denis Naughten.

“The current restrictions and the ones planned for Christmas are all having a direct impact on the mental health of everyone in this country; as well as postponing vital medical care for those with illnesses such as cancer.

“These restrictions are also grinding the viability out of many businesses, a lot of which have been family owned for generations, and as a result we need a more targeted set of restrictions which are proven to work here in Ireland.

“Unless we act quickly to analyse the huge amount of information which the Government now holds on this virus, then we risk adding to the economic devastation of many local businesses and the physical and mental health of our people,” concluded Denis Naughten.

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