IMO urges public to comply with Covid-19 restrictions to avoid ‘catastrophe’ for health system

16 Oct 2020

Friday, October 16th, 2020.  The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), representing over 5,000 doctors across all specialties, has urged the public to comply fully with Covid-19 restrictions, saying that another shutdown of our non-Covid healthcare services this year would be a “catastrophe”.


Dr Ina Kelly, Chair of the Public Health Committee of the IMO, said that we have an extremely short window to avoid our health system becoming overwhelmed.


“Departments of Public Health all around the country are under extreme pressure with the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases. Covid-19 is no longer under control. If this continues we will not be able to protect our most vulnerable in society so we really need the support of the public to be the first line of defence and keep fighting this virus. If cases continue to rise it will be a catastrophe for our health system and will cause untold suffering for patients who require diagnostic and scheduled care.”


Dr Denis McCauley, Chair of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that it was essential that people who were awaiting test results self-isolate.


“In General Practice we are seeing increasing calls in relation to Covid-19 but the worrying part is that those people who know they are contacts or are awaiting tests are not self-isolating until they get their test results. With all the conversation about restrictions and lockdowns, we are in danger of forgetting the basic messages:

  • Reduce social contacts to minimum;
  • Don’t take part in activities where you will be mixing with others;
  • Wash your hands regularly; and
  • Wear a mask.”


Dr McCauley said:

  1. If you had symptoms of COVID-19 and received a negative test result, you should continue to self-isolate until you have not had any symptoms for 48 hours.

  2. If you had symptoms of Covid-19 and received a positive test result, you should continue to self-isolate until:
    1. You have had no fever for 5 days; and
    2. It has been 10 days since you first developed symptoms (or 14 days if you are in long-term residential care or you recently left hospital after treatment for Covid-19)

  3. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case and you test positive even without symptoms, you must self-isolate for ten days.

  4. If you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you should restrict your movements for 14 days even if you receive a negative Covid-19 test result.

Dr McCauley said: “We are seeing a lot of close contacts of confirmed cases not restricting their movements for 14 days after receiving a negative test result. This is greatly contributing to the spread of the virus. Even if someone who is a close contact of a confirmed case tested negative every day for 14 days, but they must still self-isolate for those 14 days.”




Issued on behalf of IMO by Gordon MRM

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