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Dublin: 8°C Thursday 28 January 2021

No deaths and 252 new cases confirmed as Holohan warns against culture of 'blame' over breaches

The latest figures were confirmed by health officials this evening.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

A FURTHER 252 new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said this evening.

In a statement, it said that no further people confirmed to have Covid-19 have died.

The death toll from Covid-19 in Ireland is 2,022, and the total number of confirmed cases is now at 70,711.

Of the cases notified today:

  • 124 are men / 128 are women 
  • 65% are under 45 years of age
  • The median age is 34 years old 
  • 88 are in Dublin, 26 in Cork, 21 in Kilkenny, 16 in Louth, 16 in Mayo and the remaining 85 are spread across 20 counties 

Ireland’s six-week period of Level 5 restrictions is due to expire next Tuesday 1 December.

However, it is not yet clear what measures will take effect from that date with the number of daily new cases remaining high. 

Speaking at this evening’s briefing, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan welcomed the slight drop in the figures but said NPHET remained concerned about the high numbers.

He cautioned that some of the data is showing “a change in the level of concern, of worry in the population” which had returned to levels last seen in July. This means the level of fear of contracting the coronavirus in the public had dropped, which Dr Holohan said could cause people to “drop their guard”.

When asked if the recent Level 5 restrictions were “toothless”, he acknowledged this phase had been particularly difficult and it was understandable that some people had “let their guard drop”.

Dr Holohan said it was important not to “tip into blame” of each other at this point.

He said too many people appeared to be looking for the nearest lamppost to hang those who have let their “guard slip” in respect of adhering to restrictions.

The CMO said he would rather see encouragement and support offered.

“I think we have to just be careful about the extent to which we’re all then starting to blame one another for this,” he said.

“I’ve talked before about the importance of responsibility and people having and exerting as much personal responsibility for their own behaviours as possible and not tipping into blame. 

“And there have been examples of people where things have happened and there’s been a strong sort of blame-orientated response and I don’t think that that’s necessarily always appropriate.

“We have to try and support each other, encourage each other to do as much as we can, to behave as responsibly as we can and to accept that not each one of us is going to be perfect all the time.

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“But if we each strive to do as much as we possibly can, and when the guard slips encourage each other to try and do that little bit more to get as much out of this as we can – I think that’s a much better culture for us to be trying to promote.”

Cabinet is due to meet tomorrow to discuss the matter with NPHET set to make its recommendation to government on Thursday.

The Taoiseach said today that the Level 5 exit plan will be decided and made public “either Thursday of Friday”. 

Micheál Martin said Level 3 and Level 5 restrictions have worked, saying that the narrative stating otherwise recently is not helpful. The numbers have come “way down”, he said, adding that he wants them to drop further in the coming days.

The Taoiseach said that the government would have to “bear in mind” the effect that household visitor restrictions had on stemming the spread of the virus. 

“What has emerged is that the restriction of visitors to households, after we had introduced Level 3, seems to have had an impact. So we have to bear that in mind,” he said.  

Martin added the government will be looking at international evidence as well as the Irish experience about how best to plot a course forward. 

With reporting from Christina Finn, Rónán Duffy and Orla Dwyer 

About the author:

Sean Murray

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