Derry GP Dr Tom Black made the comments on BBC Radio Ulster after First Minister Paul Givan said he is hopeful that all coronavirus restrictions can be dropped by next month and that “the justification for having regulations in place is diminishing” and should now focus more on personal responsibility.
He made his comments as the Department of Health yesterday reported three further deaths and 1,610 new cases.
Sadly, one of those deaths was recorded in the Derry City and Strabane District Council which has the second highest infection rate out of all 11 councils in the North – 637.2 cases per 100,000.
Said Dr Black: “I think the first thing to say is that we would welcome the easing of restrictions.
“I think it’s really important to let the public know that when they work hard and they sacrifice that there is a reward.
“I think what we have to also remember is that every time that we’ve been successful against this virus we become complacent and complacency leads to failure.”
Dr Black said it was not “sensible” to make any promises about the future and that following the data on Covid numbers was the only safe option.
“We all hope to get back to normal, we all hope to get back to a way of life that we had before with freedom.
“But this virus doesn’t let go and the modelling would certainly suggest that when the children go back to school in September that there will be an increase in infections so I would hold fire and wait and see.”
On Mr Givan’s call for a greater focus on personal responsibility, he said: “I don’t think we can have a free for all and say ‘oh you can go to a wedding with active virus and infection and hug everybody’s granny and block the hospital beds’.”
Dr Black said the most vulnerable in our community still deserved protection in the form of written regulations.
Looking towards the end of September, he said it could not be ignored that people were still dying and hundreds of were still in hospital.
“To be frank, I’ll still be wearing a mask indoors with my patients right through to next March/April.
“I can’t see how I would put my patients at risk.”
He also agreed that moving to a model of personal responsibility by the end of next month was “optimistic” at best.Tags: