Stephen Donnelly wearing a suit and tie: Pic: Virgin Media News


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Pic: Virgin Media News

Stephen Donnelly has caused widespread confusion as he likened the risk of COVID-19 in schools to driving a car or jumping on a trampoline.

The Health Minister was speaking just days after the government announced a number of new COVID-19 restrictions.

The new measures include continuing to work from home where possible, limiting the number of people at social gatherings and advising people to stay away from public transport.



Stephen Donnelly wearing glasses and a suit and tie: Stephen Donnelly has caused confusion with his recent comments on COVID-19 and schools. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins


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Stephen Donnelly has caused confusion with his recent comments on COVID-19 and schools. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Despite the new measures, children across the country are expected to return to schools next week for the first time since mid-March.

While appearing on Virgin Media News, the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, was asked if he could understand why parents were worried about sending their children back to school during the COVID-19 crisis.

While Minister Donnelly noted that concerns were natural, he pointed out that we take risks every day.



Stephen Donnelly wearing a suit and tie in front of a window: Stephen Donnelly has been slated for comparing the risk of COVID-19 to the risks of jumping on a trampoline. Pic: Virgin Media News


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Stephen Donnelly has been slated for comparing the risk of COVID-19 to the risks of jumping on a trampoline. Pic: Virgin Media News

Among these risks, he explained, are travelling in cars and jumping on trampolines.

‘There’s things we do in life that inherently carry a risk,’ Minister Donnelly said.

‘We manage risk in our lives every time we get into a car.  Driving a car is an inherently risky thing to do.



Stephen Donnelly wearing a suit and tie in front of a window: Stephen Donnelly said that while COVID-19 is risky, so are cars, sports and trampolines. Pic: Virgin Media News


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Stephen Donnelly said that while COVID-19 is risky, so are cars, sports and trampolines. Pic: Virgin Media News

‘So we have seatbelts. We have all of these things.

‘Playing sports is an inherently risky thing to do.  Our children being on trampolines is an inherently risky thing to be doing.’

Minister Donnelly was then asked by Virgin Media reporter Zara King if the risks from cars, trampolines and sports were comparable to the risk of COVID-19.



Karina Buzaneli standing in front of a window: Virgin Media News reporter Zara King asked the Minister for Health were the risk comparable. Pic: Virgin Media News


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Virgin Media News reporter Zara King asked the Minister for Health were the risk comparable. Pic: Virgin Media News

‘Well, driving cars,’ he said grimacing.

‘People die on the roads. Lots of people die on the roads.

‘The risk is not necessarily much higher. There’s things we do in life that inherently carry a risk and we’ve got to manage that risk.

‘Unfortunately, until we have a vaccine widely distributed for COVID-19, that is the case.

‘That’s what the measures are about. They’re about saying let’s move now. Let’s not wait until community transmission goes up. Let’s move now to do what we know will work to reduce community transmission so that the schools can go back.’

Stephen Donnelly’s comments caused widespread confusion on social media, with many people criticising the Health Minister for the COVID-19 comparisons.

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