Calls for 'social distancing' restriction to be reduced to one metre
Some TDs are calling for a change to social distancing measures in Ireland.
The push for the social distancing restriction to be reduced from two metres to one metre was raised at a cabinet meeting on Friday (22 May), and has led to politicians from various parties calling for clarity.
Speaking in response to the idea of reducing the distance between people who are social distancing, Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy said: "About time - we seem to cherry pick from World Health Organisation guidelines. This change would have a positive impact as businesses reopen."
Similarly, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly called for the distance to be reduced "if it's in line with public health advice."
Currently, the World Health Organisation's official guidelines for the public say that a distance of one metre is sufficient: "Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and others. Why? When someone coughs, sneezes, or speaks they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus.
"If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person has the disease."
So far, the National Public Health Emergency Team has advocated for a distance of two-metres, a precaution shared by the United Kingdom. However, several countries such as Germany, Poland and the Netherlands adhere to a distance of 1.5metres.
Other countries, including Sweden, Finland, Austria and Norway, have already adopted one-metre social distancing.
Ireland is currently in the first phase of its reopening strategy, with Phase Two scheduled to begin on 8 June.