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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 16°C
Leon Farrell/
# health measures
Holohan advises people not to meet indoors with other households and to avoid crowded shops
The CMO reiterated his message to reduce social contacts to stem the spread of Omicron.

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER Dr Tony Holohan has urged people to reduce their contacts, advising them not to socialise or meet indoors with other households and to avoid crowded places.

In a statement, he pointed out that the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is now the dominant variant in Ireland, is more transmissible than Delta. 

“As such, please do not socialise or meet indoors with people from other households,” he advised.

As the number of daily cases increased in the past week, Holohan issued similar advice on the evening of 23 December, telling people it was imperative “that all of us, to the greatest extent possible, make every effort we can in the next two to three weeks to only meet with members of our own households”. 

“Consider you plans over the Christmas period and into the early part of the New Year and try to keep your contacts as low as possible,” he added in that earlier statement.

Last Monday, responding to an increase in the level of the disease among young adults, Holohan advised that if you had not yet received a booster shot “you are best to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside your household”. 

Ireland recorded its highest daily total of Covid cases on Christmas Eve at over 11,000. That was surpassed yesterday, when 13,765 cases were reported.

1,984,818 booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been adminstered as of Christmas Eve, with over 300,000 jabs administered over the course of three days this week

The numbers in hospital and in ICU have been falling in recent weeks, but experts have warned that the high daily case numbers associated with the now-dominant Omicron variant have yet to translate into hospitalisations and ICU admissions. 

Some initial studies have shown that the latest variant of the virus is often less severe than previous ones – but experts have warned that the increased volume of cases could still result in health systems worldwide being put under pressure. 

Writing for The Journal last week DCU Professor of Immunology Christine Loscher noted that while she was hopeful the variant may cause milder illness which may translate into less incidence of hospitalisation and ICU admissions, “the sheer volume of potential cases might make this completely irrelevant and we may see hospitalisations and ICUs climb regardless of it being milder”.

“A small percentage of a big number is still a big number,” she added. 

In his statement released this morning Dr Holohan also urged the public to avoid crowded places, “including retail environments”.

The advice comes as many department stores and other shops begin their winter sales. 

Holohan advised people to shop online where possible, to queue outside stores and leave any retail environment that does not feel safe and that is not adhering to the public health guidance. 

“If you are yet to receive a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, then you should take every measure you can to protect yourself until you are eligible to receive it,” he said.

This includes avoiding risky environments and keeping your contacts as low as possible. All of the available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will offer good protection against infection with the Omicron variant.

The CMO also reminded those who travelled to Ireland from overseas that it is important that they take an antigen test every day for five days.

“If anyone experiences any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, then it is important to self-isolate and arrange a PCR test,” he said.

Our test centres are very busy at the moment due to the high incidence of Covid-19 across the country; however, it is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive the result of your PCR test and further information from the HSE.

- With reporting by Daragh Brophy

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