Coronavirus and Foot & Mouth

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Given that we have had just one case of the coronavirus, and assuming that incidences are likely to multiply over the next few months, we have still an opportunity for robust pre-emptive action. As was done for the Italian match, the best first-line of defence, from a health perspective, is surely prevention, ahead of containment which applies once the horse has bolted.

During the 1967 Foot & Mouth outbreak in the UK, Irish emigrants were asked not to come home for Christmas and all ports were littered with disinfectant mats and signs like 'If you recently visited a farm in West Midlands or North Wales, please report to the Agriculture desk' as well as requests to avoid visiting farms. 

These measures were successful and protected a vital sector of the economy even though over a hundred thousand emigrants, including yours truly, didn't get home that Christmas.

An updated strategy, taking advantage of our island status, would entail extensive information and vigilance at all ports and on flights; selective testing & observing at ports; and progressively discouraging or even blocking high-risk or unnecessary travel. 

Letter published in the Irish Times on 3rd March 2020.

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This page contains a single entry by Brian published on March 7, 2020 1:46 PM.

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