An Irish doctor has warned that it is "starting to feel like March again" as fears over a second wave of COVID-19 escalate.
Dr. Maitiu O Tuathail, a general practitioner (GP) in County Dublin, shared an image on Twitter on Friday of the calls he received that day. All nine phonecalls were COVID-19-related.
O Tuathail warned that the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to resemble scenes in March when the number of cases began growing in earnest and the Irish Government first implemented lockdown measures.
"It’s really starting to feel like March 2020 all over again," O Tuathail wrote.
"Getting an alarming increase in requests for COVID testing and it’s trending upwards," he added. "My day so far has been all COVID related - for the first time in weeks. It’s worrying."
It’s really starting to feel like March 2020 all over again ?
Getting an alarming increase in requests for covid testing + it’s trending upwards
My day so far has been all Covid related - for the first time in weeks
It’s worrying ? pic.twitter.com/WWVj7e4XKj— Maitiu O Tuathail (@DrZeroCraic) July 17, 2020
Ireland has seen a spike in the number of new daily coronavirus infections in recent weeks with daily infections rising to more than 30 on several occasions in July.
In contrast, there were less than ten daily cases on multiple occasions in June.
Furthermore, the R number, which estimates how many people will contract a disease from an infected patient on average, has risen in Ireland from around 0.5 in mid-June to between 1.2 and 1,8 now.
The rise in cases has caused the Irish Government to postpone Phase 4 of the Roadmap to easing COVID-19 restrictions, which would have reopened bars across the country.
Some bars that serve food have been open since June 29 and there were worrying scenes of packed streets full of merry pubgoers at the beginning of July.
O Tuathail commented on Twitter at the time that Ireland could expect a second wave in two to three weeks and said that the scenes were "a slap in the face" to the country's healthcare workers.
The GP told the Irish Times that, while the number of daily infections is reminiscent of March, there has been a vast improvement in the efficiency of COVID-19 testing over the last four months.
"The one benefit is that everybody that I spoke to today has been tested. That’s a huge improvement. Testing is where it needs to be at," he told the Irish Times.
Patients often had to wait up to two weeks for test results when the pandemic first hit Irish shores, causing significant delays to contact tracing.
O Tuathail also noted that the Irish Government has since introduced its COVID tracker app to further enhance contact tracing and stem the spread of the virus.