All-hands-on-deck approach required to repress Covid-19 and ensure maximum rollout of vaccines - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane has called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing Covid-19 transmissions in tandem with the rollout of vaccinations across the island.
Speaking following the government’s announcement of a return to Level 5 restrictions across the state, Teachta Cullinane said:
“We are all concerned about the stark rising numbers of infections across the island and the knock-on increased hospital admissions, which are already putting hospitals and healthcare workers under enormous strain.
“We have gone from this state having the lowest incidence rate in Europe at the start of the month to a situation that is now in danger of spiralling out of control.
“Those stark numbers had to be matched by robust public health interventions, and Sinn Féin supports the increased restrictions announced by government this evening.
“This is a time for all hands on deck. None of this is going to be easy and none of us underestimate the scale of the challenge that lies ahead of us.
“We all collectively as a society have our part to play in getting through this third wave. But the government has its role to play and needs to show leadership in the efforts to repress the virus and, crucially, in the rollout of vaccinations.
“The immediate priority has to be to get the numbers down. Our focus has to be what we do over the next number of days, weeks and months, to get ahead of the virus once more, to invest in contact tracing when we do so, and, crucially, to put a real plan in place to roll out vaccines as speedily as possible.
“We have to keep people safe but we also need to protect people’s incomes and businesses.
“We welcome tonight’s confirmation that Pandemic Unemployment Payment will continue at its current rate. We also welcome the reinstatement of the ban on evictions, but we also need to see a ban on rent increases.
“Confirmation that commercial rates will be waived in quarter one is a positive development but businesses who don’t pay commercial rates will need financial support too.
“Crucially, the government and HSE need to work with and consult with the opposition and healthcare representative bodies to ensure the maximum rollout of vaccines, as well as liaising in a real way with the Executive in the North.
“The process of rolling out vaccines will be a huge undertaking and we need everyone working together to ensure maximum delivery and uptake across the island. That is the only way we will be able to end the cycle of rolling lockdowns and see some return to normality.
“So what we need now is to see a real plan on vaccinations centres, certainty on how many doses of the vaccines we will receive and when, and what plans can be put in place now to ramp up the vaccination process as speedily and efficiently as possible.”