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COMMENT: You can’t put a price on health  

YOU can never put a price on human health. That was the overriding message last week when An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar addressed the nation and laid out starkly the challenges ahead as we come to terms with the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If ever there was any doubt we are in unchartered territory, the Taoiseach’s speech brought home the reality of the pandemic sweeping across every continent on the planet, and one which was inevitably going to land on our shores. 

As the predictable panic buying took a grip on the retail sector, hundreds of local community groups and sporting organisations heeded the call from our health experts and decided to suspend their events until the perilous situation eases.

Schools, colleges, cultural institutions, libraries and gyms were among those to take immediate action and close their doors in a bid to play their part.

And ‘playing our part’ is the key phrase here. By using common sense we can play our part in preventing the virus from spreading even further. We have received so much advice in the past fortnight about personal hygiene, in particular, that we could nearly rhyme off the bullet points on the posters and that’s no bad thing.  Avoiding large gatherings will also be crucial in reducing the risk of catching the virus or passing it on unwittingly.

Of course, people will be put out by ‘Ireland’s Unprecedented Shutdown’ but might take comfort in the fact that there were no alternatives. 

Plans will have to be put on hold, trips abroad perhaps, holidays, weddings, Communions, Confirmations, attending sporting events, theatres, cinemas, music concerts, the list goes on and on. Even major world events such as the Olympics in Japan and Euro 2020 may not take place which no one could ever have predicted when the virus was in its embyronic stage. 

While there isn’t one person in the country that won’t be discommoded by COVID-19, spare at thought for those people in the ‘at-risk’ category, including the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. 

It could literally mean the difference between life and death if they are unlucky enough to contract the virus. 

Also, spare a thought at this time for our healthcare workers, and thousands of others working tirelessly on the frontline as the fire, that is COVID-19, rages before them. As a nation we are renowned for our resilience. Let’s prove it as we bid to slay this dreaded beast!

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