jump to navigation

Level 5 continues January 27, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

And no great surprise there – and indeed it is the correct approach. But Paul Murphy of RISE hits the nail on the head when he notes that:

“It’s very clear that the Government’s Living with Covid’s Strategy, which they announced last September, is a complete failure,” he said.

And there’s a curious contradiction in what the Taoiseach says. As quoted on RTÉ he said:

‘…he does not think a Zero Covid strategy is ‘possible or sustainable’. He said that once you reopen again the prospect is there for reseeding the virus.’

But simultaneously he argues;

…the Government has decided to extend the Level 5 restrictions until 5 March with a view to crushing the numbers of those contracting the disease and in turn the numbers needing hospitalisation and intensive care. Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, the Taoiseach said the message for the next six weeks is very simple, stay at home, do not travel, do not make any journeys outside your 5km unless you absolutely have to.

But, but, surely in the latter instance ‘once you reopen again the prospect is there for reseeding the virus’? Same diff, no? So doesn’t it make sense to go for the greatest possible level of suppression in order that track and trace and other controls can be brought to bear when matters do reopen?

Varadkar’s statement was even more puzzling.

‘If you can seal your country off entirely when do you ever unseal?’ Tánaiste Leo Varadkar asks, in response to a question about the introduction of a Zero Covid strategy

Obviously you unseal when it is possible to do so – that being when transmission internationally is at the lowest possible levels and/or vaccination is sufficiently widespread. I’ve some sympathy for the idea that has gained currency that in some ways because of an unwillingness to seal the island and the state everyone within it is sealed in. Because the logic of Varadkar’s argument seems to point to lockdowns one after another until… well… when, precisely?

Or do they believe that once the vaccine rolls out in sufficient numbers the problem goes away? Given the twists and turns of this pandemic I wouldn’t want to bet the house on that proposition. Or perhaps they’re going for a de facto suppression strategy as close to Zero-Covid as is possible. But… dunno, does that sound likely from this crew?

Needless to say the IT are in on the action – Pat Leahy asks this question but from a completely different perspective:

It is not clear what follows the suppression of the virus or what the next reopening will look like. What level of new infections would permit, say, the reopening of schools? What does being “cautious and conservative” mean in practice? Insiders shrug that this will be worked out in the coming weeks. But just as chance favours the prepared mind, Covid-19 punishes drift and uncertainty. This lockdown is scheduled to end in March; widescale rollout of the vaccine won’t be here until the summer. The Government needs a plan for what happens in between.

Let’s put that last line another way. Leahy could ponder what precisely is the difference that could be made to avoid lockdowns? Given that all other states outside of the Zero-Covid cohort are unable to offer any guidance as to an alternative perhaps Leahy might care to suggest precisely what plan will suffice? And as per usual there’s a little spin:

According to two senior officials, there is little expectation, including among the leaders of Nphet, that the measures announced will make much difference. The truth is, said one senior source on Tuesday night, the infection numbers are plummeting anyway.

It is a week since we announced our highest number of daily deaths of 93. Yesterday 90 people died. 928 cases were announced today. Just shy of half the number of cases on the day that the highest daily number of deaths was recorded. Even accounting for the fact that numbers of death do not exactly map onto the days announced (in the sense the numbers can come from across the previous month) that is an enormous number of cases and every communication from NPHET has been that numbers of deaths will remain high for the period to come. Moreover in the run up to Christmas daily numbers of cases were a third of what they current are and less. Indeed they’re only a couple of hundred lower than the peak of the last surge in October. I wouldn’t want to do anyone an injustice, but it is remarkable how sanguine some in the media seem to be at this, others of us may be a lot less so.


1. Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 27, 2021

Of course, many profit before people willfully misrepresent ZeroCovid strategy.

The core of the strategy is that you

a) Get the numbers in the community down to a level close to null where public health can fully track and trace and isolate outbreaks. The more you invest in public health the more outbreaks you can manage.

b) You control exit and entry, providing systems whereby people coming into an area isolate for four days. This also needs to be controlled and paid for.

and most imporantly

c) This is only strategy which allows return to ‘normal life’. Apart from the people in quarantine, everyone in Taiwan can do what they did before the outbreak.

The RoI’s biggest obstacle to ZeroCovid is, apart from the government’s unwillingness to invest in health, is the partition of the Island. If the Stormont authorities were unwilling to institute quarantining for people coming from Britain then you’d have to close the border.

Liked by 1 person

Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 27, 2021

Note that Zero Covid is the *only* way of returning to ‘normal life’ before full vaccination is achieved. It could be done in a month to a month and a half. Full vaccination will take 8 months plus.


eoghan - January 27, 2021

What parts of the Zero Covid strategy do you think PBP are misrepresenting? It’s largely been in line with that groups such as the ISAG from as far as I’ve seen


Klassenkampf Treehugger - January 27, 2021

I wrote ‘profit before people’ i.e Varadkar, the Irish Times editorial and columnist line, etc. and not ‘People before Profit’. If that’s the source of the confusion.

AFAIK most of the left left of the Irish Labour Party fairly well champion the principles of Zero Covid.

Liked by 1 person

eoghan - January 27, 2021

Ah yes apologies, “Profit Before People” a common dig online against PBP from people who think they’re being clever hence my confusion sorry about that!

Liked by 1 person

2. irishelectionliterature - January 27, 2021

Fair play to RTE for sending cameras out to the Airport last night and filming all the those poor souls heading home from Lanzarote. I assume most viewers were shouting at the Television and then listening to Eamonn Ryan pattering on afterwards didn’t help.
Was on to a friend last night and she said to me, things are bad if Paul Murphy is the voice of reason on an issue.

Liked by 1 person

alanmyler - January 27, 2021

I had to get up from the sofa and leave the sitting room when Ryan was on Primetime, he’s unlistenable. Herself was uncharacteristically talking loudly back at the TV during it and like your friend she’d be sceptical enough of Paul Murphy generally but on this issue people are seeing that it’s the opposition that gave the public mood behind them. As I say I couldn’t stomach sitting through it but apparently Alan Kelly made a good point that the people who are going to Lanzarote on holidays right now are not the people that you’d have much faith in their adherence to self quarantine rules when they get back.

Liked by 1 person

3. Jim Monaghan - January 27, 2021

A hapless government with a policy of too little too late and the pretence that the little should be seen as retrospective. I would add weak to the description. The mess with teaching shows that. The Gardai seem to have most of their members out sick or elsewhere. The number of fines issued for blatant disregards of the restrictions is minuscule. At this stage, we should be hearing of pub licences lost etc. Like Alan, I thought Ryan was dying on TV, even Miriam could not help him. If I had felt it could connect with him, I would have thrown something at the TV. People are supposed to stay within 5 km of home yet appear to have exemptions to travel to and from to airports. I can see the awful Martin promising free Easter Eggs just like he promised a Christmas for everyone. “Come home for Easter and stay for the funerals”
Hopefully, the EU is getting its act together on the vaccines, though I think hard questions are required there.


crocodileshoes - January 27, 2021

If Ryan was bad, how about Donnelly on Claire Byrne? He mentioned vaccines and variants at every opportunity – 2 things outside government control. Whenever he was asked a direct question about something going badly he praised frontline workers – positive messaging – then had to admit that 70000 of them in healthcare alone still don’t know when they’re getting their jabs. And maybe the fact that he starts every single bloody sentence with ‘so’ isn’t his greatest fault, but it explains why I’m on DID’s website looking for a new radio.

Liked by 1 person

4. An Sionnach Fionn - January 27, 2021

I could be unkind and suggest that the sanguine approach of some in the news media reflects the reality that affluence and position shields them from the greatest risks during the pandemic. Encouraging them to be blasé about the risks others less fortunate must take.

Or perhaps they simply see less value in the lives of those they deem to be of less value in society?

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 27, 2021

It’s very striking when listening to, say, the IT podcast, how they all appear to be working mostly from home.


An Sionnach Fionn - January 27, 2021

Exactly. Mammy and daddy working upstairs in the bedroom-turned-office, au pair minding the kids in the spacious garden, cleaner doing the shopping for a few extra quid, discreet dinner party of a Saturday for a few select friends. Crisis? What crisis?

I’m exaggerating. But only just… 🤨

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2021

And so what if the people who have to work in the places they want open are facing a hazard?
You’re right, that’s the mentality.


5. LMS - January 27, 2021

I think the gov are hedging their bets on a successful vaccination programme. It’s a strategy with a strong whiff of solutionism about it. I would argue that reluctance/refusal to go for Zero Covid is ideological more than anything else. Technocratic, neo-liberal types are very fond of technological silver bullets or simply over-complicating solutions e.g. means-tested programmes versus universal programmes.

Liked by 1 person

WorldbyStorm - January 27, 2021

Yeah, that’s very true.


6. CL - January 28, 2021

“THE CALLS for a zero-Covid approach in Ireland are growing louder, and the Government may soon be forced to act.
As images from packed festivals and sports events in New Zealand made their way to Ireland, where it is illegal to travel further than 5km from home and household visits are banned, the calls to put an end to rolling lockdowns have grown more desperate….
Public health expert Dr Tomás Ryan appeared on Claire Byrne Live yesterday evening where he explained how a Zero Covid approach could work in Ireland should it be brought in.
Stating that the approach is “perfectly realistic”, Dr Ryan said we have a choice of “taking control of our situation or [choosing] to live in rolling lockdowns or permanent lockdown for the rest of 2021″….

Zero Covid doesn’t mean absolute zero … you’re still going to have cases coming in, they need to be quarantined.”
Referencing a poll that found that 90% of Irish people want mandatory quarantine, Dr Ryan continued: “We need to move towards this and the government have to stop resisting.”

” Adopting a zero-Covid strategy “isn’t achievable” for Ireland, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney has said.
Speaking to members of Cork Chamber at a virtual meeting this morning, Minister Coveney addressed the mounting calls that have come for Government to adopt a zero-Covid plan, similar to Australia and New Zealand.
“if you have a zero-Covid strategy, that means your target is to have no Covid at all and to maintain that position and the truth is that effectively means Ireland sealing itself off from the rest of the world, including Northern Ireland, for an indefinite period into the future.”

” The problem is our Minister for Health seems to work in approximates and generalities, he has thrown out wild promises like prizes on the Late Late Toy Show, but then quickly backtracks.

This week is just the latest in a string of false promises made, unattainable targets set and blatantly unachievable suggestions floated by the Health Minister.
But offering false hope and then quickly rowing back on promises only makes a Covid-weary population despondent and depressed.
Stephen Donnelly must start dealing in certainty, not speculation.”


CL - January 28, 2021

” Ireland’s supply of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine could be halved after last night’s meeting of the EU Commission and AstraZeneca failed to resolve a dispute over delivery dates.
The pharmaceutical company insists it cannot deliver an agreed shipment of vaccines for February and March….
The vaccine was previously described as a “game-changer” by the health minister, Stephen Donnelly. …
Meanwhile, the health minister rowed back on an earlier commitment to have the entire country vaccinated by September.

Mr Donnelly said his recent announcement in the Dáil on the rollout of vaccines “wasn’t a promise” as it was “heavily caveated” based on the schedule of advanced purchase.”

“The AstraZeneca vaccine is yet to be approved by the EMA (this is expected on Friday) but it has already said production snags at its EU sites mean it will only deliver about 40% – or 31m – of its 80m promised doses to the EU in the first quarter. This shock setback has infuriated officials in Brussels and the EU member states, who have ordered a total of 400m doses.
The vaccine spat is, almost inevitably, charged with Brexit-tinged rancour. The fact that AstraZeneca, headquartered in Cambridge, seems to be favouring the UK market is seen by Brussels as undue bias, while British ministers counter that leaving the EU gave them the freedom to secure vaccines faster. Both the EU and the UK accuse one another of protectionism and vaccine nationalism.”

“So far, the U.K. has vaccinated over 7.1 million people with a first vaccine dose, and almost half a million have received their second dose, meaning it has carried out more immunizations than German, France, Italy and Spain combined, according to Our World In Data figures.”


CL - January 28, 2021

” The independent commission advising the German government on vaccination policy has recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine not be used for people aged over 65, in a move likely to complicate the acrimonious rollout of the jab in the EU.” FT.

‘ A spokesman for Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said the EMA “has to make a determination on Friday and on the basis of that the European Commission will decide on approval. Ireland will be guided by those decisions…..
Mr Donnelly confirmed on Monday that the vaccination of over-70s against Covid-19 would start next month, assuming the authorisation of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the EMA later this week.” -Irish Times.

If the EMA takes into account the recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute then the vaccination of people over 65 cannot proceed.


CL - January 28, 2021

” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it would have been a “great pity” if the UK had stayed in the EU’s vaccine programme rather than set up its own plan….

An MP in Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party said the UK is not getting special treatment when it comes to supply of the AstraZeneca jab compared with the EU.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Andrew Bridgen said conflict is coming because the EU has “seriously mishandled” the purchasing and ordering of vaccines.

He said it appears the UK will have “to bail out” the EU, is prepared to do that and “top of the list” would be Ireland because of the land border.”


7. Jim Monaghan - January 28, 2021

Nearly 400 a day coming back from their holidays. That is incredible. We must have the most “see no evil” government.Any random collection of citizens could not do much worse. I now think I would snub, boycott etc. anyone wilfully taking holidays abroad in this emergency. there should be consequences.


alanmyler - January 28, 2021

It’s disgraceful alright but unfortunately moral outrage only goes so far. Someone made a point that the requirement for PCR tests prior to flying should have a dampening effect on families going on holidays. At say 100quid a shot, for a family of 5 requiring two tests (one before each flight to and from) it adds a significant cost deterrent to the holiday. Not that I’m suggesting financial measures alone as a deterrent, far from it, they should all be locked up in the Curragh in damp and draughty tents for a fortnight on returning to Dublin airport.


Jim Monaghan - January 28, 2021

And 400 fines collected at the airport exit.


dublinstick - January 28, 2021

Jim, I’m disappointed in you, of course a Radom collection of individuals would do better , they wouldn’t be the type of person who would want to be politician for one and also not so closely tied to the publican, tourism, plane leasing etc lobbies.


dublinstick - January 28, 2021

And of course the zero covid or not is an ideological issue, the Chinese approach should have been studied in nonjudgmental depth and all if possible to implement in our societies followed, include the quarantining of the ill in facilities as soon as it was feasible – ensuring better treatment, restricting the spread and also giving the risk takers an added reason not to catch it.


WorldbyStorm - January 28, 2021

I’d agree completely DS with your last comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: