‘There’s nothing magic about county borders that protect you’ – acting CMO

The acting chief medical officer, Dr. Ronan Glynn, has warned that there is a “misperception” that Covid-19 cases related to meat and food processing facilities in counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly are located “very close” to their place of work.

Dr. Glynn noted that plant workers may live and socialise quite a distance from the factory.

“One of the comments I’ve heard made on a number of occasions is that our use of the three counties was a blunt instrument, and I would agree with that,” he said.

I think there may be a misperception out there that all of the cases are located very close to where the [meat and food processing facilities] are located.

“We can see that that’s not the case. I would remind people across the counties that the measures apply across the counties for a reason,” Dr. Glynn added.

“We’ve seen cases over 14 days, for example, as far west as Birr, Ferbane, Clara and Tullamore; over to Edenderry, Maynooth, Clane, Newbridge and Athy; and down to Abbeyleix and Durrow,” he pointed out.

“I just want to highlight the fact that people work in a particular place, but they live and socialise and meet people in communities and towns and villages all across those counties,” Dr. Glynn stressed.

I also want to get the message out that it’s not just about those counties. If you live in an adjacent county, there’s nothing magic about a county border that protects you if you live just one or two miles over the border.

“I’m anxious that the national message – and the need for solidarity and the need for people to adhere to public health guidance nationally – doesn’t get lost in the very understandable focus on these three counties at the moment,” he said.