The chairman of Northern Ireland’s GP committee says a complete lockdown of at least four weeks is needed to reduce the number of Covid-19 infections.
DR Alan Stout spoke to The Postedia editor Ryan Smith on Thursday as the executive met to discuss tighter restrictions.
He expressed his concern about numerous short confinements or circuit breakers rather than a longer and more serious delivery.
“There is no doubt that we are currently in a very difficult position,” said Dr. Naughty.
“Our infection rates are still very, very high and I think it’s clear to everyone that our hospitals and the entire healthcare system are under enormous pressure right now. It is entirely fair to say we are struggling as the news is quite poignant.
“It’s about the number of infections we get and the people who get seriously ill. It is difficult to get them well enough to go home. If you see the ambulances waiting outside, it’s because the hospital is full. It becomes impossible to move people from the ER to the hospital beds because the beds are full. The backlog goes straight into the ER and out of the hospital.
“From primary care in the GP practice, we also see this in the community because we now have sicker people who are discharged sooner and we also struggle more and more to get medical help outside of Covid.”
The Postedia has dr. Naughty about whether he thinks the brief two-week power outage we’ve experienced over the past few months is worth it.
Dr. Stout told our editor that the recent circuit breaker made it difficult to know there were restrictions because of the sheer number of people going through it.
He continued: “I think we now know for certain that a partial circuit breaker will not work in the short term. It has to be final and we really have to reduce the level of infection. The problem is that we are operating from a far too high infection level. In the two weeks it was hard to tell if we were in lockdown or not, because so many places were open and so many people were still working.
“I have great sympathy for the hospitality industry and for retail and everyone else who has suffered, but long-term sustainability does come with low numbers of infections. If we don’t get that number low enough, we’ll be jumping in and out of lockdowns, and that’s to no one’s benefit.
“From an infection rate of around 500 per day, we know that around Christmas there is a great temptation to meet more people and have more people in the house. All it does is increase spread. The things you do today and this weekend. ” increases the risk to everyone you interact with during Christmas week, Christmas Day and beyond.
“I appreciate the politician who has to deal with so many other things, but I see Colin Neill from Hospitality Ulster this morning supporting a full lockdown. I think that’s where we need to go and that’s where we will have the safest and most sustainable future.
“At least four weeks, probably six weeks [of lockdown] be preferred because you really have what it takes. It must be full and it must be maintained and everyone must fight for it.”
With the news of a Covid-19 vaccine last week, Dr. Alan Stout, the main focus is on reducing the number of infections.
He said it is difficult to implement a vaccination program with high levels of infection.
“As we start opening things up with confidence, track and trace will start working from those lower numbers,” Dr. cheeky about it.
“The vaccine itself is really a real light at the end of the tunnel, but we are very challenged to roll it out and increase volumes in the new year.
“If you think about another vaccine, we usually do it when the infection is not circulating. We’re doing the flu before the flu hits, but we’re trying to do the covid-19 vaccine when covid-19 is there, and that’s a big challenge.
“It’s very important to reduce the number of infections to be effective.”
The NI executive meets on Thursday at 3pm to discuss tighter restrictions during or after the holiday season.
Source: Bel Fast Live