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Taoiseach says house parties of 30 or 40 people are 'presenting a problem'

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss moving to Phase 4.

Image: Niall Carson

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said congregated indoor settings and house parties taking place with 30 or 40 people “are presenting a problem”.

Speaking in the Dáil, Martin said he had been speaking to the Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn who has raised concerns about the increases in the number of Covid-19 cases in the last fortnight.

“Congregated indoor settings are presenting a problem, having 30 or 40 people in house parties is an issue,” said Martin.

Under the current Phase Three of the government’s roadmap for reopening the economy, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted, when conducted in line with public health advice.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people when conducted in line with public health advice are also currently permissible.

The Taoiseach said there will be a significant degree of domestic tourism this year.

“That is important to weigh up. Our travel advisory is consistent. We are advising people not to travel abroad except for essential reasons. As a result there has been a significant demand on domestic facilities and hotels and so on. Again, the message has to be that while obviously we want people to enjoy themselves during the summer, they should do so in a socially responsible way,” he said.

In this phase of Covid-19 personal responsibility is essential, said Martin.

“What worries me is that the age profile of new cases is going down. It is important to convey to people the serious potential long-term impact that getting this virus can have on one’s health. That is why, in all of the holiday locations across the country, people should be conscious of that and behave appropriately,” said the Taoiseach.

“Any slippage between now and the end of August could undermine our efforts to get schools open fully,” he said.

The Taoiseach said there has been much commentary about the number of American visitors travelling to Ireland.

Information from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is that the numbers coming in from the US are “quite low”, said the Taoiseach.

“From the outset of the pandemic travel has never been banned officially or per se. It has never been prohibited. The National Public Health Expert Team, NPHET, will be giving us advice. It is meeting today and there will be a meeting of the Government tomorrow in respect of Phase Four of the roadmap.

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“There will also be further discussions about the travel issue, which will culminate in decisions on 20 July regarding drawing up a green list and strengthening our presence at airports and ports concerning inward traffic,” said Martin.

Yesterday and today,, no new Covid-related deaths were reported.

Over the past 14 days, the total number of confirmed cases notified to the HPSC is 165.

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