Covid lockdown exit plan: ‘it’s sensible that dates not fixed’

Derry GP Paul Molloy gives his opinion on Stormont Executive’s lockdown exit plan

Covid-19 rates across Northern Ireland continue to fall.
Covid-19 rates across Northern Ireland continue to fall.

I understand there is some general frustration that there weren’t any fixed dates in the Executive’s lockdown exit plan.

I watched the news on Tuesday night and it was pretty full of business owners highlighting their difficulties.

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Every time the R number drops and the number of deaths reduces, invariably the attention shifts to getting back to normal.

I’ve had my two vaccine doses. The important question then is: what does that mean for me? Well, very little in terms of what I can do.

I know that, if I catch Covid, I will probably not get very sick and probably won’t die or end up in hospital.

However, the vaccine isn’t a cure and doesn’t always work in everyone.

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As regards the newer strains of Covid, there are still some concerns that the vaccine does not reduce transmission - even if you are protected.

This means that you might still get a mild form of Covid and can spread it to people who aren’t protected.

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We are waiting for more concrete evidence regarding how the vaccine prevents transmission.

As it is, I still have to stay close to home, wear a mask, and do everything else.

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There are lots of people still unvaccinated who could provide a harbour for the virus to continue in our community.

Personally, I think it’s sensible that the dates are not fixed as relaxation will depend on the numbers of people infected and there is still a risk that we could easily see a rise in numbers again.

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This is a medical opinion, obviously, and I do agree that it’s been a horrible time for business owners.

Paul Molloy is a general practitioner working in Derry.