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Government position 'hasn't changed' despite Ronan Glynn's call for home working 'where possible'

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer suggested people should “work from home where possible this autumn and winter”.

Updated Oct 15th 2021, 7:48 PM

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that the government’s position on the return to workplaces “hasn’t changed” after Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn suggested people should “work from home where possible this autumn and winter”.

In a four-minute video shared on social media, Glynn said that people should “continue to adopt the basic measures” they have become familiar with during the pandemic. 

Glynn said that as part of efforts to reduce the circulation of Covid-19 and other respiratory infections people should work from home if possible. 

Echoing comments made yesterday by another NPHET member Professor Philip Nolan, Glynn said today that people should not socialise if they have symptoms. 

“We’re now mixing and interacting with each other on a scale far greater than at any point in the pandemic to date,” Glynn says. 

This gives viruses, and not just Covid, so the influenza virus, the respiratory syncytial virus, opportunities to circulate and to make vulnerable people very unwell.  We can all play our part to prevent that by continuing to adopt the basic measures that we’ve all become so familiar with over the past two years.So let’s continue to wash our hands regularly. Let’s ensure that we don’t meet up with other people and socialise if we’ve got symptoms. Let’s work from home where possible over this autumn and winter.

Glynn’s comments about working from home this autumn and winter do not reflect the official advice from government, which changed last month to remove the previously long-standing advice to work from home unless necessary to attend in person.

Since 20 September, it has essentially been for businesses and employees to determine whether presence at the workplace is required and to engage in “a staggered and phased return” if presence is required. 

Speaking in Cork today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the government’s position hadn’t changed but that companies can make their own decisions. 

“The government’s position is as announced in September that there will be a phased return to the office, that is the government position, that hasn’t changed,” he said.

But that said, many companies informed us that it would be indeed a very phased return, so companies have taken their own decisions in that regard and they haven’t come back all at once or they have phased it back and blended it.  

Martin also said that the didn’t feel that the return to workplaces here “is a particular contributor” to the recent increase of Covid-19 cases.  

Instead, he pointed to “wider issues in terms of congregation more generally, social gatherings and so on.”

Also in his comments, Glynn said there is an increasing incidence of Covid-19 “across most age groups” and that this is causing “an impact on our hospital system”. 

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He again reiterated previous requests that people who have not been vaccinated or have not had their second dose come forward to be inoculated.

“Unfortunately their choice or their decision not to come forward for a vaccine is having a disproportionate impact on them personally, but it’s also impacting disproportionately on admissions to hospital admissions to intensive care,” he said. 

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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