“We could have been right back to the start again.” Stephen Donnelly defends lockdown in Kildare, Laois and Offaly

“We could have been right back to the start again.” Stephen Donnelly defends lockdown in Kildare, Laois and Offaly

The Health Minister said it was "entirely possible" measures introduced in those three counties will be introduced again at a later stage.


Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has defended lockdown measures in Kildare, Laois and Offaly that were introduced last Friday (7 August) for a two-week period.


The government said the measures were introduced to protect vulnerable people and to stop the spread of Covid-19 following a high number of cases in those three counties. Prior to the introduction of the measures on Friday, 48% of cases of Covid-19 in the preceding fortnight had arisen in Kildare, Laois and Offaly.


Addressing the issue on Morning Ireland on Wednesday, the Minister for Health said it was “entirely possible” that the measures introduced in Kildare, Laois and Offaly would be introduced again at a later stage.


“I think what Laois, Kildare and Offaly have shown is just how quickly this virus can spread and the need for us to be able to react to it quickly,” Donnelly said.


“So Laois, Kildare and Offaly, if we hadn’t reacted as quickly as we had, what the public health doctors would say is, we wouldn’t have seen the scale of this, it would’ve seeped into the community very quickly, inevitably it would have got into the nursing homes.

“It would have spread around the country and actually, we could have been right back to the start again, having to impose really strict measures across the entire country.

“The idea is, that by having the testing and tracing systems in place, and by having a system like NPHET is proposing, we can move as quickly as possible and as locally as possible to try and contain the virus when we do see outbreaks.”


Following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the government is believed to be preparing the introduction of a colour-coded system to replace the phased approach to reopening business and society in Ireland.


The system would consist of red, orange, yellow and blue statuses depending on the levels of the threat of the spread of Covid-19 in particular areas, with blue representing a situation where a vaccine would be in place to suppress the virus.