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under pressure Doctors urge people to comply with restrictions to avoid ‘catastrophe’

The Irish Medical Organisation said hospitals around the country are under extreme pressure.

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A sign outside a testing centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A sign outside a testing centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A sign outside a testing centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Doctors have urged the public to comply with Covid-19 public health guidelines to avoid “catastrophe” for the health system.

The Irish Medical Organisation said hospitals around the country are under extreme pressure with the rapid rise in cases of the virus.

The group, which represents over 5,000 doctors, added that another shutdown of non-Covid healthcare services this year would cause “untold suffering” for patients.

If cases continue to rise it will be a catastrophe for our health system. Dr Ina Kelly

Dr Ina Kelly, chairwoman of the public health committee of the IMO, said the country had 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,” she said.

“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.”

IMO GP committee chairman Dr Denis McCauley said that it was essential that people who were awaiting test results self-isolate.

He said that GPs were seeing an increasing number of calls reporting symptoms of the virus but the “worrying part” was that “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, Dr McCauley said people were in danger of forgetting the basic messages of reducing social contacts, not taking part in activities where they will be mixing with others, wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly.

“We are seeing a lot of close contacts of confirmed cases not restricting their movements for 14 days after receiving a negative test result,” Dr McCauley said.

“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, they must still self-isolate for those 14 days.”

Press Association