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A nation holds its breath: what Ireland can do to avoid a second surge of Covid-19

Luke O'Neill


A second surge of the coronavirus is literally a matter of life and death for all governments, writes Prof Luke O'Neill

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Countries everywhere, including Ireland, are beginning the process of releasing the lockdown. The rules differ from country to country, but most are insisting on maintaining social distancing, keeping up with hygiene, wearing face masks in public and the all-important testing, tracing and isolating of infected people, or those at risk of having been infected.

The goal is simple: to prevent the number of infections rising again to levels that might threaten the health service, lead to more deaths and potentially another lockdown - which is unthinkable. The second surge. This is literally a matter of life and death for governments everywhere. Get it wrong, and people die. Get it wrong and economic havoc continues, with all the difficulties that brings.

The WHO issued conditions on April 15 that are needed for any government to start lifting restrictions. Four stand out: