trade unions siptu Amidst the rise in the number of Kovid-19, the government has been called upon to reduce the capacity on public transport.
Situ Transport Organizer john murphy Said on Thursday that it is important that the capacity is reduced after a huge increase in the cases of Kovid.
“This is for the safety of employees and passengers alike. We heard there was talk of reducing the actual service over the next few weeks,” Murphy told Newstalk Breakfast.
“Again we think that this will be flawed as it will reduce vehicles on the road and vehicles will either become overcrowded or very close to 100 per cent capacity or so.
“If there is a reduction in the number of people commuting to and from work due to restrictions, then the current number of vehicles should be kept on the road so that they do not get crowded. At times during the lockdown we have had 50 per cent and 75 per cent capacity on public transport. It worked at that time. People followed it.”
The number of new virus cases reported in the state on Wednesday stood at 3,893. There were 611 patients in the hospital and 132 in the ICU. The Health Department said that it has received 43 deaths with Kovid-19 in the past one week.
Mr Murphy said congested public transport is a fertile breeding ground for infection.
“We cannot have overcrowded buses and hospitals are also not expected to be overcrowded due to the high infection rate. We need to take a serious decision for the winter here,” he said.
“If there is demand then there is a need to increase the services so that they can be run at 50 or 75 per cent or less than 100 per cent capacity in the safest manner. There is no problem running additional service. We all know the critical need of public transport and our members have stood up for the plate in the last one and a half years. They want to keep doing it but do it in the safest way possible. ,
trade union wrote a letter to the transport minister amon ryan On Wednesday, urged the government to reduce the passenger capacity to less than 100 percent. The union represents 4,500 employees who work on all types of public transport.
Meanwhile, the need for wearing masks for children in primary school is expected to be discussed by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) in a meeting on Thursday.
Some members of the group believe such a move would help stem the rise in infections among young children, although the government does not intend to impose any new restrictions this week.
If any recommendation is made by NAFET, it is likely to be considered by the government next week.
The latest figures show that primary school children now have the highest Covid-19 incidence of any age group, with nearly 10,000 positive cases in the past fortnight.
NAFET Member and President of the Royal College of Physicians Ireland Professor Mary Horgan It said on Thursday that it has been known for the past few months that the increase in infections among primary school children is higher than the rest of the population.
“Maybe for two reasons or for several reasons. First they are a group that has not been vaccinated.
“We know how effective vaccines are. Secondly they still don’t use masks. The rest of the population does. So it may be time to consider (mask wearing among school children). Because we want to reduce the infection as much as possible.”
Prof Horgan said it was likely that the European Medicines Agency would recommend vaccination for the age group 5-11, which would also reduce infections. “Although it is difficult for young children to wear masks, we need to follow the science,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland programme.
Prof Horgan hopes Ireland can escape the lockdown: “Lockdown is just a blunt instrument and it really is a last resort. We have developed many such tools which we need to use effectively to survive the lockdown. The current situation in the hospitals is stable.”
Prof Horgan acknowledged the difficulties in obtaining a COVID test given the rate of referrals and insisted that the public was “stepping up to the plate”.
Prof Horgan said she is “a big advocate” of antigen testing.
“We have a very educated population. We need to trust the population. Let’s follow the science and use antigen testing in a very appropriate way in the population. ,
Prof Horgan said the rollout of booster vaccines is “a big operation”.
“I believe it is being done as quickly as possible. There is a lot of logistics. Where it is done whether it is done by GPs, pharmacies, vaccination centres. There is a lot of people involved in doing this “
She said the benefits of the booster were already being seen.
Prof Horgan’s remarks come after the publication of a study in the British Medical Journal that researchers say supports the need for a booster dose to prevent those suffering from breakthrough infections due to reduced immunity.
Experts from the Research Institute of Lumit Health Services in Israel observed a gradual increase in the risk of COVID-19 infection 90 days after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The researchers examined electronic health records for 80,057 adults (with an average age of 44) who had a PCR test between mid-May and September, at least three weeks after their second vaccine injection.
The risk of infection was 2.37-fold higher after 90-119 days in all age groups, compared with the first 90 days after the second dose; 2.66 times higher after 120-149 days; 2.82 times higher after 150-179 days; and 2.82 times more after 180 days or more.
While the study is observational in nature, the researchers said it appears clear that immunity declines after the first three months of being double-vaccinated. – Additional reporting: PA