New COVID-19 plan must avoid 'snakes and ladders' approach to restrictions - Cullinane


A 'snakes and ladders' approach to COVID-19 restrictions must be avoided in the Government's new plan, Sinn Féin's health spokesperson has said.

David Cullinane says the most important thing is that there's no confusion and that people "clearly understand" what is expected of them.

The final details of the government's new medium-term 'Living with COVID-19' plan will be discussed by a Cabinet sub-committee later, ahead of its publication tomorrow.

As well as continuing restrictions on social gatherings, the plan is expected to include a new alert system which would introduce local lockdowns or restrictions based on the level of infections in a particular county or region.

Deputy Cullinane told Newstalk Breakfast that he wants to see the full details of the plan - but it's vital that it's easily understandable.

New COVID-19 plan must avoid 'snakes and ladders' approach to restrictions - Cullinane

He said: "The most important thing is there is transparency: that we fully understand why a county, city or region would be in any phase at any given time.

"It's important we keep this very simple: that we keep the message very simple, and people clearly understand what is expected of them.

"What we have to do is give people hope they can live with the virus. I support pubs opening in a safe way... I support stadiums opening. Young people need social outlets - we all do."

'Let's keep the message simple'

He said that if we're going to have to live with the virus for a year or more until a vaccine is available, people still have to live and have social outlets available to them.

He observed: "Obviously that has to be underpinned by public health guidelines. We have to keep people safe. But my fear is the more we complicate this, then you start to lose people. Let's keep the message simple.

"What we need to do is avoid a kind of snakes and ladders approach in terms of these different phases - of counties going up and down, but no logic, with people not understanding why they're at level two or level three.

"We've seen over the last while where people are confused, I think it goes against the grain of what people are expected to do."

In terms of spectator sports, he said numbers would need to be kept down as full stadiums will not be doable.

He suggested crowds of around 5,000 should be allowed in a large stadium such as Croke Park - although stressed work would need to be carried out to figure out what exactly the safe numbers would be.

Main image: Sinn Féin's David Cullinane. Photo: Leah Farrell/