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Cross border cooperation ‘vital’ in fight against virus

A PANDEMIC health expert has urged governments on both sides of the border to work closely together in keeping our lockdowns in place, claiming by doing so we can eliminate the virus completely and lead the way in Europe.

Dr Anthony Staines, professor of health systems at DCU, has said that now the lockdowns have “flattened the curve” as they were intended it is time to “crush” the virus now across the entire island.

Speaking in several outlets in recent days, Dr Staines said it was vital we capitalise on the good work already done in keeping Covid-19 number low across Ireland and that as we move on Dublin and Belfast must work closely in the hope of eradicating the virus completely from our shores.

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“It is now time to shift the conversation from the emergency response which was on both sides of the border to a coordinated discussion about, what do we do next?” he said on Newstalk.

“Do we say this is going to be with us forever, a but like influenza, and that next winter we are going to have our health services badly damaged by having Covid-19 and influenza circulating at the same time? Or do we say that we want to give a little bit of a lead for Europe and show that this can be removed?”

Speaking on Northern Sound just days later, he added the southern government must now work with the Stormont Executive.

“[The Executive] now have got a five stage plan, it’s not quite the same structure as ours but it’s similar enough,” he said. “We make a decision jointly and we make a commitment not to fully reopen our economies until the cases are down to zero and staying at zero.”

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