December 11, 2023

‘Putting people’s lives at risk’ – anger amid reports of student ‘virus parties’

Widspread anger has been expressed online following reports that students in Waterford, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick staged ‘virus’ parties in defiance of emergency measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the Government may seek enforcement powers to ensure that the ban on no indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs and clubs.

His intervention came after images and footage emerged on social media last night and this morning showing hundreds of people packed into pubs over the past two days.

Pubs, clubs and restuarants who have still not closed their doors are now coming under increasing pressure to do so, with growing speculation that all premises could be forcibly shut down for a period as part of stricter controls to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, leading medical experts expressed their dismay after reports of so-called ‘virus parties’ are being reported in Ireland’s main cities.

Cork-based GP, Dr Doireann O’Leary said people who continue to gather in pubs and clubs despite the public appeals over Covid-19 is “putting people’s lives at risk”.

She said on social media: “For the last week my colleagues and I have been preparing for an emergency. We’ve worked day and night to prepare for this global pandemic. We’ve increased ICU bed capacity. Doctors have done emergency training on how to use ventilators and life support machines.

“We’ve asked the public to undertake social distancing in order to stop the spread of covid19 so that our hospitals aren’t overwhelmed over the coming days and weeks. If we have too many cases and too many people needing ICU care, we will not cope and people will needlessly die.

“I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach last night when I scrolled through social media and saw people on nights out. This is not ok. It’s putting people’s lives at risk. It’s insulting to the efforts of all healthcare workers who will be putting their own life at risk over the coming days and weeks. It’s insulting our friends and family who are at home frightened to leave their house due to underlying health conditions.”

Dr O’Leary (pictured below) urged people to think about consequences their actions may have on others.

She added: “If you aren’t at risk and you’re continuing to go on nights out this is for you: You are healthy. You aren’t frightened. But you can get this virus and pass it on to someone who will die from it. You may not know your friend has an illness that puts them at risk. You may think your family are fit and healthy and will be fine. But if you or your family need our help because you went on a night out, we may be too overwhelmed to be available to help you.”

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