A WEST Cork senator is one of four members of the Seanad self-isolating after two members of the upper house were diagnosed with Covid-19.
Kinsale-based Senator Tim Lombard confirmed that he will be restricting his movements until Sunday, November 1st.
Speaking to The Southern Star on ‘day eight’ on Tuesday, the Fine Gael politician confirmed that while two senators have been diagnosed with Covid-19, two more – including himself – have been identified as being ‘a close contact.’
Senator Lombard said he had one clear test – which was administered at a HSE premises at the North Point Business Park – on Thursday evening, October 22nd last.
He said he expects his second test will be administered at the same location on Thursday, but that he will not be permitted to leave his home at Minane Bridge in Kinsale until Sunday.
‘There is a 14-day incubation period that needs to be strictly monitored, and I will need to be completely symptom-free between Thursday and Sunday if I’m to be allowed out,’ he said.
Senator Lombard described the severe restrictions of his movements as being ‘akin to being a prisoner.’
Even with a general Level 5 lockdown, he said, ‘self-isolation is extreme. Being so restricted definitely takes some getting used to.’
In the initial stages, he said he was concerned that every sneeze or sniffle served to convince him that he had the virus.
‘I don’t, but it has – literally – brought home to me the fear around contracting the coronavirus.
‘It’s a very strange situation to be in and I can sympathise with other people who are going through the process.
‘It was also of huge concern that I might have brought it home to my family in Minane – my wife Catherine and my four kids, all of whom are under the age of 10.’
He explained that he was deemed to be a close contact by virtue of the fact that he was in the same chamber as one ‘positive’ senator for a vote on Friday, October 16th.
‘There are 60 senators in the Seanad, but on that occasion, there were just 48 in the chamber. Out of that there were just two close contacts.
‘It brought it home to me how prevalent Covid-19 is in the capital city. The rate in Dublin is higher than Cork and travelling to the Seanad in Leinster House, four days a week, is a worry.’
Senator Lombard said it was only after his colleague’s positive test was confirmed on Sunday night that the Covid-19 App on his phone sent him an alert and he immediately restricted his movements at home.
He expects he will be free to resume his duties after the weekend and that he will return to Dublin to the Joint-Oireachtas committee on agriculture, which sits on Tuesday afternoon.
‘This has been a time of intense worry and it has reinforced for me the importance of observing all of the national health guidelines,’ he said. ‘I believe that I have been fortunate to avoid contracting the coronavirus but I would like it to serve as a warning to others to continue to take very great care.’