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simon's pier pressure; corona crisis: minister urges PUBLIC NOT TO BE COMPLACENT >>Warning after crowds gather in spring sunshine >>Beaches filled despite virus still causing 'havoc'.


HEALTH Minister Simon Harris last night warned against taking our eye off the ball as crowds thronged piers and beaches in the sunshine.

He said Covid-19 was still causing "havoc, devastation, hurt and pain" with 118 infected people being treated in intensive care units.

And Mr Harris added if the chief medical officer had to make a decision today on easing the restrictions he would advise against it.

Speaking after a weekly meeting with medical chiefs, the minister said there was a recognition that coronavirus is going to be with us for a long time.

His words were echoed by Professor Sam McConkey who said it was too early to consider easing travel restrictions.

The consultant in infectious disease added people have to accept the message from the chief medical officer not to become complacent about moving about more.

He said that despite a reduction in the reproduction number of the novel coronavirus, it will take several further weeks for it to "fizzle out".

Prof McConkey added Ireland needs to be careful to avoid what happened in Singapore, where there was a resurgence after restrictions eased.

Yesterday, The Prom in Salthill, Co Galway, was packed with walkers, swimmers and cyclists.

Crowds also flocked to beaches in Dublin and the pier in Dun Laoghaire where social distancing was not observed by everyone.

The top epidemiologist warned STILL CAUTIOUS Simon Harris we cannot act like "cowboys" and do as we please in the middle of a pandemic.

Prof McConkey said: "Like it or not we all need to have a single centralised authority that we all listen to to get us through this outbreak.

"If each of us act like cowboys and make up our own rules we won't come out of this well."

There have been positive signs regarding the rate of reproduction but he warned against abandoning social distancing any time soon.

Prof McConkey told RTE Radio One's Saturday with Cormac O Headhra: "If we stop it will simply come back.

"If you're very fast on testing, contact tracing and isolating the contacts you can get ahead of it. And that involves getting the information out to contacts as quickly as possible."

Meanwhile, Dr Gabriel Scally said all travellers entering Ireland should face questioning and temperature checks.

The author of the report into the CervicalCheck controversy praised New Zealand for closing its borders early and keeping case numbers down.

He spoke exclusively to the Irish Sunday Mirror after more airlines said they will soon be open for business.

Etihad Airways added it will take to the skies from May 16 with passenger booking now open for flights to India, Sri Lanka, London and the Phillippines.

Low-cost airline Wizz Air said it would be reintroducing some flights from Luton Airport next month.

Dr Scally said: "It's fine to have flights but you have to have port arrangements, so at a very minimum passengers' temperatures are checked.

"Passengers' details also need to be taken, along with all their details, where they came from, where they are going to, their history, have they been with people who are ill. Where are they going in the country and they must all be told strictly to quarantine for two weeks.

"For those who aren't willing to comply, they should be turned back at the border or placed in compulsory quarantine."

Daily planes and ferries are entering and leaving Ireland currently, though numbers travelling are very low so far.

Dr Scally said: "I have no doubt once travel restrictions are lifted a substantial number of people will want to come back to the UK and Ireland. It's inevitable some will bring the virus with them."

He added this risk would be increased by passengers taking multiple flights, sitting long periods of time in airports "exposing" themselves to catching the virus.

Dr Scally said: "Leaving the borders open is not only unfair to the people who have been practising social restrictions, it is also risking importing cases.

"It would be nonsense for us to go through the hard few weeks and the difficulties this has posed for parents, workers and business owners, only to have an open door for people to come into the country without being checked." STEPPING OUT Dozens yesterday

If each of us act like cowboys and make up our own rules we won't come out of this well PROF SAM MCCONKEY YESTERDAY118 The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care units in Ireland



VISITS Dun Laoghaire & Sandycove

PACKED OUT Portmarnock beach

TOO CLOSE People at Dun Laoghaire & Sandycove

MORTAL DANGER People out & about putting lives at risk
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Apr 26, 2020
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