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No recommendation to cancel major events at this stage, says Taoiseach

He made the comment this evening during a press briefing.

Updated Mar 6th 2020, 5:33 PM

coronavirus Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and HSE chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan Source: Brian Lawless via PA Images

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR says there is no recommendation to cancel mass gatherings at this stage.

He made the comments today during a press briefing on Covid-19 updates following a stakeholder meeting with health officials. 

No final decision has yet been made on the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, with organisers set to meet today to discuss the situation. 

At least one parade has already been postponed, with organisers of the parade in Youghal, Co Cork announcing this morning that it will not go ahead. 

“We are not recommending at this stage that any major events be cancelled, but this of course, will be kept under review,” Varadkar said. 

Tweet by @Hayley Halpin Source: Hayley Halpin/Twitter

Also present at the briefing today was Dr Tony Holohan, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer.

He said the country remains in a containment phase and its advice on mass gatherings remains the same. 

“At the moment in relation to our public health advice, we have no recommendations in relation to the cancellation of mass public gatherings,” Holohan said. 

Flights

Varakar reiterated that there will be no flight bans to and from other countries to the Republic of Ireland. 

“As things stand, the best advice is that there isn’t a case for widespread flight bans to Italy or other parts of Europe,” Varadkar told reporters. 

He said the Irish government will not be introducing measures such as checking people’s temperatures at airports. 

“While that may be the case that in some parts of the world and people are engaging in those actions, the best scientific advice we have on the moment is that those kinds of actions are not effective, and there’s no point in taking actions that are not effective,” Varadkar said. 

The Taoiseach went on to defend the government’s handling of communicating the news of people being diagnosed with Covid-19. 

“We have to balance our desire to give people information that they want and to also protect the identity of individuals so that they feel they are able to come forward,” Varadkar said. 

“There are lots of other infectious diseases when somebody is diagnosed and we want them to feel comfortable that no information that they give to public health authorities will subsequently be used to identify them,” he said. 

It is not just Covid-19 that applies to, it would apply to HIV or somebody who was diagnosed with an STI or any other sort of ailment.

Tweet by @Hayley Halpin Source: Hayley Halpin/Twitter

“They need to know that when they’re giving us information about people they’ve been in contact with, that the public health authority needs to never put out information that identifies where they live, or where they work or anything like that.

“Maybe people on Twitter will do that but the health service should never do that.”

Seven new cases of coronavirus Covid-19 were confirmed last night in the Republic of Ireland, bringing the total to 13. They included the first case of community transmission, not related to foreign travel.

Includes reporting by Press Association and Aoife Barry

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