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Six in 10 people have reduced social contacts over the last week, new poll shows

44% of people said that they had cancelled plans for the pre-Christmas period within the last week.

SIX IN 10 people say they have reduced their social contacts over the last week, a new poll has found.

Asked by Amárach for tonight’s RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live programme whether they had “reduced their social contacts over the last week” 60% of people said yes, while 38% said no and 2% said they didn’t know.

The poll suggested that people are not expecting the need for caution to disappear very soon.

44% of respondents said that they had cancelled plans for the pre-Christmas period within the last week, while 56% said that they had not.

Asked what their expectations were in terms of tightening restrictions between now and Christmas, people again showed evidence of caution and even pessimism.

Almost one in three respondents (31%) said that they expected an announcement of “a full lockdown for a minimum of two weeks”.

A higher number, 56%, said that they expected to see “some increased restrictions”
while only 8% said they expected “no further restrictions” and 5% said they didn’t now.

These results come after Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan last week said that the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland and the pressure on healthcare services meant that normal levels of Christmas socialising is not advisable.  

He said the “responsible thing” for public health is not to plan “major socialisation events” like Christmas parties. 

“We really do not have the capacity as a country to have significant Christmas-type levels of socialisation in the run into Christmas if we’re to turn this around,” Holohan told The Hard Shoulder on Newstalk.

“I think a very responsible thing for people who are in a position, whether they’re organising Christmas parties or where they’re responsible for the health and well-being and welfare of their staff and their customers, a responsible thing to do would be to conclude that now is not is not an ideal time to be planning major socialisation events that don’t need to happen,” he said. 

Public health officials this evening  confirmed 5,634 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

As of 8am today, there were 684 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of whom 126 were in ICUs.

The poll was carried out today among a sample of 1,000 adults participating by Smartphone by Amárach for RTÉ Claire Byrne Live.

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