Time for Phase 2 in Ireland

Tomorrow (June 8th) sees the start of Phase 2 of Ireland’s Roadmap for Reopening. You can see that, as of yesterday, the number of confirmed cases per day is small and stable after three weeks of Phase 1, which has justified proceeding to Phase 2.

Incidentally, since the Covid-19 outbreak took hold in Ireland there have been daily press briefings by the Department of Health. Yesterday’s was the last of these: from now on the updates will be twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Data will still be released every day but there won’t be a press conference every time. I’ve been following these every day for three months so this will be quite a change to the routine!

Moving to Phase 2 means that most shops will be able to reopen (subject to social distancing measures being in place), people will be able to travel much further (anywhere within your own county and 20 km into another) and there will be a limited return to work (subject to the completion of various protocols, risk assessments, etc).

For us at Maynooth University there won’t be a sudden change. Staff who can will continue to work from home (which is basically everyone in the Department of Theoretical Physics) but labs will gradually reopen for research when the necessary arrangements are in place. Other than that Phase 2 will be very similar to Phase 1.

On Friday, however, the Taioseach announced that the Roadmap would be accelerated so that Phase 4, starting 20th July will, if all goes well, be the last, though measures will be in place for some time after that.

That’s good news of course but it’s all dependent on there being no second wave. As a cautionary tale, take a look at the numbers for Covid-19 Iran:

Iran has been experiencing a second wave of new cases for some time now, and this looks set to produce more cases than the first, but this has only recently resulted in an increase in daily mortality figures:

Note the lowest number of new cases per day in Iran was just under 1000. That’s far fewer than the United Kingdom, which has chosen to undo its restrictions far more rapidly in Ireland. The number of confirmed new cases in Ireland reported yesterday was just 24; in the United Kingdom the figure was 1557. In my opinion there is a strong possibility that the UK will follow a similar trajectory to Iran…

6 Responses to “Time for Phase 2 in Ireland”

  1. I would take the official figures from Iran with a large grain of salt…

    • telescoper Says:

      Yes, but they are probably lower limits. You can take the official figures from the UK with a large grain of salt too.

  2. Phillip Helbig Says:

    “Other than that Phase 2 will be very similar to Phase 1.

    On Friday, however, the Taioseach announced that the Roadmap would be accelerated so that Phase 4, starting 20th July will, if all goes well, be the last, though measures will be in place for some time after that.”

    When is phase 3?

  3. […] couple of weeks ago I posted about the imminent start of Phase 2 of the Irish Government’s Roadmap for Reopening after the closures enforced because of the Covid-19 […]

  4. […] made. The first was the decision taken in June to wind down restrictions starting from 20th July, earlier than the original ‘Roadmap’ indicated. That was a mistake because it sent out a message that the pandemic was almost over. The change in […]

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