Gardaí have stepped up high-visibility patrols in Dublin as cases of Covid-19 rise in the capital rise and as authorities warned the city and county faced a “critical moment” in the fight against the virus.
The Garda said in a statement on Sunday that increased policing would see officers on foot, in cars and on bikes throughout the county “to support the public health guidelines, particularly in relation to social distancing and gathering in large groups.”
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, “There has been very good compliance with the public health guidelines to date. We want to thank the public for this.
“However, as the Acting CMO has said, in Dublin we are now entering a critical phase. As a result, we will have a high visibility presence throughout Dublin to support the public health guidelines and regulations.
He said it was “vital” that people living in, working in and visiting Dublin limit their social interactions, maintain social distancing, wear face masks in shops and on public transport, and not gather in groups larger than outlined in the public health advice.
“We know the considerable sacrifices people have made during the last six months, but individually and collectively we must continue to do all we can to protect our families, friends and neighbours,” he added.
“Throughout the pandemic, An Garda Síochána has adopted a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen members of An Garda Síochána engage, educate, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce. That approach continues.
“I would also like to re-iterate that An Garda Síochána continues to be here for anyone who feels vulnerable or isolated at this time. If you need help or assistance, please call your local Garda station. We are here to help and support you.”
On Saturday two new deaths and 159 new cases of coronavirus were reported. Seventy five of those cases were in Dublin.
Announcing the figures, Dr Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said: “Forty seven per cent of the cases reported today are in Dublin City and County. For the people of Dublin in particular, this is a critical moment to address the spread of the disease in the community.
“Individual choices can make all the difference – reconsider your plans for the weekend, reduce the number of people that you meet and avoid social activities that involve large groups of people.
“Covid-19 is a highly infectious disease that can spread even when you have no symptoms. Remember, when you do meet with friends, family and colleagues, staying 2m apart is the best way to keep everyone safe.”
Earlier on Saturday he posted a video pleading with Dubliners to limit their social contacts as much as possible noting that the rise in cases in Dublin was being driven by household transmission.
“We are seeing lots of cases clustered in households and these clusters are spread all across Dublin city and county”, Dr Glynn added.
Fortunately, the “vast majority” of cases in Dublin are in young people and the rates of hospitalisation are low, he added. He also said that rates of community transmission, where cases cannot be linked to other cases, are broadly the same in Dublin as it is elsewhere in the country. “This provides a window of opportunity to bring the disease under control. We all need to act now to break the trains of transmission,” he said.