Lockdowns in Europe are avoidable, according to WHO regional director
"If mask use reached 95%, lockdowns would not be needed."
Lockdowns are avoidable and should only be used as a last resort measure, according to Europe's regional director from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Hans Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, also said that vaccines are not a "silver bullet", and that Europe is still in for a difficult six months.
He said: "Lockdowns are avoidable, I stand by my position that lockdowns are a last resort measure.
"Mask use is by no means a panacea, and needs to be done in combination with other measures.
"However, if mask use reached 95%, lockdowns would not be needed."
Lockdowns should be lifted safely and gradually, he added, warning about the negative impact of restriction measures being eased "too quickly".
Kluge also said that primary schools should remain open, as they are not driving the spread of Covid-19.
This comes amid speculation rises that Ireland may not leave Level 5 restrictions on 1 December as planned.
The Minister for Health recently said that there is "no appetite" to not end Level 5 in two weeks time.
However, Donnelly stressed that the next 14 days are now absolutely "crucial" when it comes to deciding what will happen going forward.