- 15 Oct 20
Simon Harris said that the ban on home visits will be "a gamechanger".
A nationwide ban on visits to homes or gardens was announced by the Government last night, as the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 rises to 238 today, October 15.
Speaking about the new restrictions on RTE's Today with Claire Byrne, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris noted that there is a "very, very small window where we can stop us having to go back to severe restrictions" – describing the ban on home visits as a "gamechanger".
He went on to say that it is "likely but not inevitable" that more restrictions will be introduced.
“I think the Government wanted to get the budget measures out there, before announcing further restrictions,” one political insider told Hot Press. “And it makes sense. While there is a general feeling of frustration and depression about the ongoing economic disruption, and the shocking impact it is having on so many people’s lives and their businesses, at least the budget is designed to provide some sort of cushion. So there is a feeling of resignation today that might easily have been one of anger. Though there is still a bit of that out there."
The announcements have attracted criticism on social media:
The crucial thing you have to understand about household visits is that they involve no element of commerce or profit.
— Eoin Daly (@eoinmauricedaly) October 14, 2020
The total ban on household visits strikes me as unfair. You can't have *one* friend in your home, distanced, but you can meet them outside a busy pub or restaurant? Made me think of non drinking friends, people who are totally broke financially, or those who feel safer at home.
— Donal Fallon (@fallon_donal) October 14, 2020
It’s time for personal responsibility. If you’re tempted to visit that one family member this weekend, do the right thing and go to the gym instead
— Lethal Dialect (@lethal_dialect) October 14, 2020
In the UK, if you live alone or are a single parent you can still have household visits from a ‘support bubble’ - members of one other household.
A similar measure should be introduced here. Asking people who live alone to renounce all household visits is cruel and unnecessary. pic.twitter.com/akdnIv9Y62
— Colette Browne (@colettebrowne) October 14, 2020
It was also announced that Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal will move to Level 4, which will be in place from midnight on Thursday until November 10.
The new restrictions in the three counties were introduced after a surge in cases – with Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal reporting the highest 14-day incidence rates in the country. All three counties border on Northern Ireland, which reported 763 new Covid-19 cases and four deaths in the last 24 hours.
The British Medical Association in Northern Ireland has described Stormont's new restrictions as "too little too late".
Across Europe, countries are also attempting to deal with a rise in new coronavirus cases. The continent reported over 700,000 new cases last week – which is the highest weekly total ever.
In France, a new nightly curfew is set to come into force from midnight on October 17 – in Paris, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, St Etienne and Toulouse.
London will also be place in high-risk coronavirus restrictions from Friday night, as cases continue to rise in the capital.
As Germany records its highest daily number of infections since the start of the pandemic, the WHO's chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has noted that young and healthy people may not be vaccinated against coronavirus until 2022.