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The 2km rule is the first restriction people want lifted, according to new survey

The government has said it is hoping to ease some of the restrictions on 5 May.

Dorset Street in Dublin on Saturday.
Dorset Street in Dublin on Saturday.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

IN A NEW survey of 35,000 people, 50% of respondents said the lifting of the 2km restriction on movement is their top priority when Covid-19 rules can be eased.

The survey, carried out by staff at Dublin City University and NUI Galway, found that the restriction on non-essential travel beyond 2km – introduced at the end of March – is the measure most people would like to see removed. 

People who took part in the survey were asked to rank, in order of preference, which restrictions they would like to see removed.

After the 2km rule, 37% of respondents chose lifting the ban on small group gatherings, 33% said returning to work, and 32% chose the reopening of schools.

The government has said it is hoping to ease some of the restrictions on 5 May. 

Over the weekend, health minister Simon Harris warned that there won’t be a “big bang moment” when restrictions are removed. 

The figures come from the Corona Citizens’ Science Study, a survey carried out by researchers at DCU, NUIG and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in Galway currently studying the impact of the pandemic on Irish life. 

The government is currently working on a phased roadmap for how restrictions could be lifted. Such an approach is also likely to be accompanied by a significant increase in testing capacity

Medical appointments

Experts have expressed concern that 32% of people surveyed said they had postponed medical treatments or check-ups.

While 55% of this was because the patient’s healthcare professional was not seeing patients at the moment, 39% said that they didn’t want to add extra pressure to the health service, while 26% of people were worried about the risk of catching Covid-19. 

“Important treatment is being delayed, and there will need to be a clear path to fixing this before queues in our healthcare system become intolerable,” said DCU’s Professor Anthony Staines, an expert in health systems. 

This concern was echoed by Dr Akke Vellinga, an epidemiologist at NUIG. “The postponement of GP appointments in particular is worrisome, and people should not put off calling their GP when they are worried about something,” she said. 

The survey found that 41% of people had routine examinations postponed, while 48% had a consultation with a GP delayed. 

A further 14% had a hospital medical examination postponed, while for 6% an operation had been postponed.

The survey, the second phase of the study, was carried out anonymously online and ran on 22 April. 

“We also see people beginning to think about life after lock-down, and making realistic suggestions for gradual easing of the restrictions. Irish people have made huge sacrifices to bring this disease under some control, which we needed to do before we could move on,” Staines said. 

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