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'No exceptions': HSE boss says Covid-19 guidelines can't be relaxed for Mother's Day

Paul Reid says there must be compliance every day, regardless of what celebrations are on.

HSE CEO Paul Reid as they launch the COVID-19 Government Action Plan To Support The Community Response.
HSE CEO Paul Reid as they launch the COVID-19 Government Action Plan To Support The Community Response.
Image: Sam Boal; RollingNews.ie

HSE BOSS PAUL REID has urged people to comply with Covid-19 guidelines on Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, he was asked about the HSE’s message to people who want to visit their mothers or grandmothers this Mother’s Day.

“We can’t be lax on the guidance and the rules we have put in place for a day and it would be misleading of me to give any other impression that we just relax rules for a day for Mother’s Day.

“What we have put in place needs compliance, every minute, every hour, every day,” he said.

Reid said there can be no exceptions for the likes of birthdays or celebrations like Mother’s Day.

“We can’t,” he said.

The HSE advises that those over 60 years of age and particularly those over 75 are  vulnerable. 

People in at-risk groups do not need to self-isolate unless they have symptoms of coronavirus, according to HSE advice. Everyone with symptoms needs to self-isolate.

Those in at-risk groups have been advised to take extra precautions such as not having more than two visitors at a time in their home as well as not shaking hands with visitors.

Any visitors should kept two metres away.

In order to stop the spread of the virus, the HSE also advises that people should reduce interactions with people outside the workplace and home and reduce the number of people they meet every day.

As a result, many parents and grandparents around the country are not able to meet their loved ones face-to-face.

Speaking in the Seanad today, Health Minister Simon Harris said “this is not a weekend for socialising”, telling kids this is not the summer holidays.

“Social distancing is the most important thing you can do,” he said.

Last night, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said:

“Our message to younger people is that it might not be you that we are concerned about but it is your grandparents we are concerned about.

“It is older relatives in your family, it is members of your family that have chronic illness, that are on medications that suppress their immune system.

“So, if you are young person, think about the people you love. Think about the people who are important to you. They are the people we are trying to protect by you avoiding picking up this particular infection and passing it on.”

One the issue of social distancing, which essentially means minimising your contact with other people, in order to minimise the risk of transmission/contracting the disease , he said the actions being asked of the population right now “are very significant and challenging for people”.

“I think the vast majority of people are taking actions. The smaller minorities who aren’t, what I say to you, you are putting lives at risk,” he said.

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Reid said: “It is a war against a very silent and dangerous enemy. It is not one we can win with armed forces. It is one that we can win with communities.”

He added:

“Our focus in the HSE is obviously to look after the sick but as a society we do need to make sure that we look after the vulnerable and the well, because this is a challenging time for everybody.

“The biggest thing I have learned in my career is the power of social communities, how they mobilise and how effective they can be.

“It certainly has been demonstrated to me in the past few weeks the one thing that distinguishes us from other European countries is the power of our communities when we mobilise.”

Reid said there will be no need to worry about the number of ICU beds if the public adheres to health guidelines.

“We need to avoid the public shifting to debate on ICU care. We will avoid that if public can win that battle if we can ask them what we ask them to do.”

A third person who contracted Covid-19 died in the Republic of Ireland yesterday, and 191 new confirmed cases took the total to 557.

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