Monday, 29 March 2021
Living with Covid-19: Statements
I agree with Senator McGreehan that it is not living with Covid-19 but coping with Covid-19. It is important to remember those who have died due to Covid-19, and their families, and express our sympathies. The restrictions have prevented people from comforting one another at a time of grief, which has made it more difficult for families to mourn. It is something Senator Keogan and I know on a personal level having both lost a parent during Covid-19.
The restrictions were in place, however, to contain the number of positive cases and limit the numbers of those who died. Some people out there are suffering more than others due to the pandemic. Our hearts go out to those who have lost jobs and have been on the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP. It is important that we, as a Government, have the supports in place for all to survive and be able to rebuild their businesses when we reopen the economy.
We must also pay tribute to our health staff and front-line workers in the health service and throughout society. Over the last week, people and politicians have sought to open various areas in society. I urge caution, however. Our infection rates are high. We must prioritise the reopening of our schools on 12 April and that we do not return to a situation where our children with special needs are not in a school setting.
The biggest area in the loss of faith from the public has been our lack of communication on the vaccination roll-out. Over the next three months, however, the programme will see a high percentage of our population vaccinated. With that, the risk reduces and hopefully we will be in a position to go back to the new normal. After that, however, it is important that the proper support measures are put in place, especially for the mental health issues that will arise.