Increasing Covid-19 restrictions for the next week or two would bring down transmissions, and might shorten the time that our economy has to stop, Professor Sam McConkey, has said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Prof McConkey, the head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, suggested that by "going hell for leather" in terms of restrictions for the next two weeks would eradicate community transmission of Covid-19.

He said "as long as there are unexplained community transmissions of the virus, that's the real worry."

If there are community transmissions, "at any time that can explode in to another outbreak", he said.

Prof McConkey pointed to China, where he said after the economy was closed off for two weeks the number of transmissions started to drop.

"We need to get unexplained community transmissions down almost to nothing before we relax and start doing everything that we'd like to do again"

"I think adding more restrictions for a week or two to really bring down transmissions might shorten the time that we have this plague among us; that our economy has stopped. By really going hell for leather and doing all we can do for the next week or two and getting the numbers down so there is no more community transmission of Covid-19.  

"We need to get unexplained community transmissions down almost to nothing before we relax and start doing everything that we'd like to do again."

In relation to testing Prof McConkey explained that testing suspected cases is being carried out for the good of the public health of the population.

He said the priority of testing is to show "what is happening nationwide", and is not being done for the individual.

Even if the test confirms whether or not someone had Covid-19, that does not mean that that person has antibodies to protect permanently against getting the virus for a second time.