Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan speaking at the Department of Health this evening. Sasko Lazarov/
Health Warning

House parties being 'organised with abandon', warns Chief Medical Officer

Dr Tony Holohan was speaking ahead of a planned easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Monday.

HOUSE PARTIES ARE being organised “with abandon”, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has warned. 

Speaking at the Department of Health briefing this evening, Holohan said: “I think we all know from our personal lives, house parties are being organised with abandon, it seems to me, as though we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic.”

“That’s a continuing cause for concern,” he said. 

Holohan was responding to a question about any worries he had as Ireland prepares to enter Phase Two of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

“I just have two messages. One is to people who are organising these events, that’s one thing. There’s a responsibility. But then there are also people who voluntarily attend them. And you can choose not to,” he said. 

“There will come a point in time where we think certain activities that are indoor in nature can happen in controlled ways,” Holohan said. “But we’re really not at the point now where we think that house parties and gathering indoors is appropriate.”

This evening, the Department of Health confirmed that a further five people with Covid-19 have died in Ireland, and there have been 38 new cases. 

This brings to 1,664 the total number of people with Covid-19 who have died in this country.

The National Public Health Emergency Team met today to finalise recommendations on whether Ireland can move on to Phase Two or not.

Cabinet is meeting tonight and tomorrow at Dublin Castle to discuss the recommendations, and a public announcement will be made tomorrow on what Covid-19 measures will be in place for Phase Two, which is due to come into effect from Monday, 8 June.

The potential for a greater spread of the virus – and the potential for a second wave – have all been discussed in recent weeks as Ireland prepares to ease restrictions. 

“I know a lot of focus has been on some of the external and public gatherings on beaches and platforms and so on and Dart stations and such places. And those give us cause for concern, but it’s the unseen activity in between ordinary houses – very easy to understand – but we’re really not at the point where I think that kind of activity is something we can recommend,” Holohan said.

“I’m conscious it’ll appear to people as though we’re trying to identify every sort of pleasurable activity in life and finding some ways of recommending against it,” he added. 

However, he stressed that all recommendations were made based on “really good public health reasons”. 

“If you see a crowd, stay away. If you’re invited to something which is crowded, stay away. If you’re invited to something that you know is not in keeping with the public health advice, stay away.”

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