PLEA ISSUED MEP Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has urged Varadkar to ‘please move now’.
MEP for the Midlands Northwest constituency Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan has called on the Irish Government to institute a ‘total lockdown’, arguing that the country is currently in a more-vulnerable position than many other nations.
In a statement, he said: “Let’s be clear, Ireland is very vulnerable in the face of the coronavirus, Covid-19. We are very low on ventilators, and there is clear evidence that shows that a country with a low number of ventilators per head of population has a higher death rate than countries with high numbers of ventilators per head of population. This is why Germany has far fewer deaths than Italy. Ireland has half the number of ventilators that Italy has per head of population.”
The MEP then pointed to an article by Dr Muiris Houston that was carried in The Irish Times on Friday, March 13, entitled ‘Coronavirus: Frontline health professionals likely to face dilemmas’.
In the article, Dr Houston said: “Ireland’s intensive care unit/high dependency unit bed capacity is one of the lowest in Europe. We have 50 beds per million people; Italy has 125 beds per million. If northern Italy has run out of intensive care facilities and we get the same surge in very ill coronavirus patients as it has, then some very difficult challenges lie ahead.”
Commenting, Ming said: “You can accept this or you can bury your head in the sand. It’s up to you.”
The MEP is insisting that the Irish Government needs to do more. “We have failed to take the peak off the infection curve, the latest figures from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, is proof of that,” he said. “Our infection rate is soaring. We have not done inward travel restrictions, we have been slow to close schools, pubs etc.
“This is all in the past, we must look to what is coming down the line. I believe that we must move to instigate a total lockdown now, similar to France.
“If we do not do this we will needlessly kill thousands of our citizens. Why wait? Why be behind the curve? We can see what works. Lockdown is currently the only medicine against this virus. It worked in China. It is just beginning to work in Italy. Most countries in Europe are going towards lockdown. Poland, Denmark, Spain and many others have closed their borders.
“Let’s do it now. Dr Mike Ryan of the World Health Organisation has said the most important single factor in fighting coronavirus is speed. Minister Harris, Taoiseach Varadkar please move now. What are you waiting for? Every day is a loss.”