Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Update 18th March

The National (International) Emergency

We are being urged to do the following:

1.       Wash Our Hands. Perhaps we have been traditionally remiss in doing this in our annual flu seasons. Sneezes and coughs deserve a rigorous discipline. 
2.       Stay as isolated as possible.
3.       Try and keep well with whatever activity that you can and which is of course appropriate. We are so lucky in BOYLE that we have such a variety of refreshing walks and cycle tracks. One flicker of light is that the weather forecast suggests better weather towards the end of the week. So the civilising of the garden comes into play.
4.        Communicate and stay in regular contact with friends and family via the phone. While modern communication systems can be abused by its use to spread false information etc. It is a wonderful and very valuable tool. We have face timed/Skyped family members especially the young ones, which, like so many grandparents we miss at this time. It is a time for solidarity and particularly family solidarity.
5.       There is much advice being repeated, including the above, which if we adopt it can have huge positive effects in reducing the numerical spread of this threat. 
6.       A piece of advice that resonated with me from a T.V. doctor was; ‘Develop or keep a ROUTINE/STRUCTURE in your day if possible’. This takes in getting up/going to bedtimes; eating times, in-house projects that have been long-fingered for some time, etc. Maybe I’ll be motivated to bring order to books, photographs, history pieces especially GAA ‘stuff’ and the environmental garden. 
7.       Would it be an exaggeration to ask people who are ‘out and about’ of necessity to keep a log of the people they encounter in case they become involved in the tracing process?  
I was going to use as a headline today ‘And the Country Holds its Breath’ but I’ve relegated it to here not wanting to be a smart ass. While I, of course, have little or no competence in commentating on what is happening in the world and our country now I cannot but do so.  A word that has cropped up a number of times is SURREAL. It is just like one of those poor shock contagion films which one starts to watch but abandons. There is no escape here, however.
While it is early in the war one applauds those in the front lines of this enormous battle, the doctors, nurses, hospital workers in all areas, ambulance drivers and all who, like firemen and firewomen are working in a most hazardous environment.
Tonight the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, addressed the nation and encapsulated in a fine speech the many strands of this emergency. In Belgium, they have established a six-month emergency government with ‘extraordinary’ powers to face this extraordinary emergency. Just a couple of days ago I would have suggested that a version of that (say a two-year Government embracing all parties) should happen here. However, it would be disruptive and unsettling to change the ‘team’ that has done so well up to this. Varadkar, Coveney, Harris and the supporting panel of experts led by Dr. Tony Holohan who have the challenge of analysing when to adopt critical strategies. I hope they are getting the support they need as it must be hugely stressful and tiring, showing in some of the principals.
Last but not least I remember the many people from our town of Boyle, the region and country, who are scattered throughout the world and are anxious in their own environments and worried about their families and friends here. I would recommend that they track down the Taoiseach’s rallying address to the country from tonight. It will be a historic document into the future. What an irony it is that it issued on St. Patrick’s Day.


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