We all have a “personal and social responsibility” in tackling the spread of Covid-19 and each of us must “play a unique part in this collective battle against Covid-19”, the Bishop of Limerick has told society.
Bishop Brendan Leahy’s call came as he urged the public to “keep up our guard” in the fight against Covid-19 in the informal moments, including after religious ceremonies.
The bishop said that everything points to the fact that we are at a tipping-point again with Covid-19 and individual responsibility can ensure the balance is in favour of public health.
Letting our guard down can be dangerous but doing the basics around Covid-19 can be a life-saving service, he said, as Taoiseach Micheal Martin warned it is imperative that people cut their social contacts to reduce the spread of the virus.
Citing recent warnings and increases in figures of positive cases, the bishop said: “We are reminded again that the battle against Covid-19 is far from over and all need to do our part to combat the very serious threat that keeps stalking us.
The bishop also said he believes everyone needs to be more careful with “the standing around moments” in the “in-between times” whether it be after significant social events, after funerals, or after special celebratory moments.
“We’re human, we like to socialise and chat. It’s natural we find ourselves letting our guard down and lingering for long periods of time in conversation and banter but forgetting social distance and masks. This can be very dangerous,” he warned.
“Let’s encourage each other to keep up our guard even in the informal moments. Perhaps some of us need to take on the friendly referee role and remind each other when things are beginning to get too loose. We’ll be doing each other not just a favour but a life-saving service.”
Bishop Leahy said that generally the response has been good to health protection measures around Covid-19 and he’s been particularly pleased with the efforts made to make churches safe.
“Most of us at this stage have taken on board the recommendations to wear masks, keep social distance, sanitise when we go to work, or enter shops, or find ourselves in public spaces. I have been very impressed by how much has gone into making sure churches are safe places and I thank those participating in liturgies for being so careful in wearing their mask, keeping social distance and sanitising. But we have work to do.
“We’re not far off a tipping point in this again, perhaps back where we were in the weeks ahead of lockdown. The difference is now that we know what to do but really need to tighten up and do it better again,” Bishop Leahy said.
“For all the focus on the politics in this, it’s really about the person. It comes down again and again to our personal and social responsibility. Each of us can play a unique part in this collective battle against Covid-19,” he concluded.
Picture: The owner of a card shop in Athy, Co Kildare, puts up a sign advising the use of face masks. (Niall Carson/PA).