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People must 'look at their plans' and reduce contacts as Ireland battles third wave, Holohan says

Dr Tony Holohan said the current levels of transmission of Covid-19 are “simply unsustainable”.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

PEOPLE NEED TO “look at their plans” in the coming weeks and reduce their contact with other people as the country deals with the third wave of Covid-19, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said.

The government has announced the country is to re-enter a Level 5 lockdown for at least a month after a new daily record for the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases here.

Yesterday health officials reported 1,718 new cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

A further 13 patients with the illness have also died in the previous 24 hours, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

It brings to 2,226 the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Ireland to date. A total of 90,157 cases have now been confirmed since the beginning of the pandemic.

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, Holohan said the current levels of transmission of the virus are “simply unsustainable”.

Holohan said people need to take steps to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 over the coming weeks.

“Every person listening this morning has an opportunity now to look at their behaviour, to look at their plans over the course of the next number of weeks.

“As we head into the new year tonight, and then into the early days of the new year and the resumption of schools on the 11th of January, we have an opportunity to take actions that can turn around these patterns of transmissions, and achieve the kinds of impacts that we did in both wave two and wave one as a whole society.”

Holohan said many people increased their socialising over the Christmas period but what matters now is the coming days and weeks.

“Right now it doesn’t matter a great deal, you know, the fact that you were socialising over the course of the last number of weeks or whatever it may be.

“Now is an opportunity to relook again at your activities and say, over the next number of weeks, I’m going to do my best to limit my social contacts, I’m going to stay at home as much as I possibly can.

“I’m going to protect myself and my families from picking up this infection. I’m going to think about the people who are most vulnerable in my community, in particular in my family and close contacts, and take actions to limit the transmission of infection among those people.”

‘Stay at home’

When asked if he believed the government reopened part of the hospitality sector too early in December, against the advice of NPHET, Holohan said NPHET’s job is to make recommendations but the government has to “balance” a range of issues.

“Our job is to make assessments of what we believe is happening with the transmission of the virus, and to make recommendations around what we think we’ll have to do to interrupt that transmission.

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“The government has a different job to do, which is to consider a whole range of other issues in coming to a balanced assessment on behalf of our country. And that’s what government has done all along.”

Speaking on the same programme, Justice Minister Helen McEntee said everyone must play their part to help bring “a sharp escalation and rise of this virus … under control somewhat as we roll out the vaccine”.

McEntee said everybody should “stay at home unless absolutely necessary”.

She added that the decision to delay the reopening of schools until 11 January “gives staff and students in schools an opportunity over the coming days to be at home and to obviously limit their movements”.

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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