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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 15 April 2021

Return of thousands of Irish people for Christmas could result in 'hundreds or thousands of cases' in January

Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said he thinks the majority of people will decide “it’s simply not worth it”.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE reiterated their message to Irish people living abroad not to come home this Christmas, as they warn that a large influx of visitors to the country in December could result in a surge in Covid-19 cases in the new year.

Last week there was a huge reaction to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s comments that it was “too soon” for people to book flights home for Christmas.

This preceded a stronger message from Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan who said travel home to spend time with family for the holidays is non-essential and too risky.

This evening Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said officials know this is a difficult message to hear, but he warned that people’s actions in late December could have significant consequences in the new year. 

“We do not want people asymptomatic people who feel completely well coming home to this country to meet their loved ones, to interact with their extended families across generations, older people, younger people people with medical conditions, we don’t want thousands of people doing that, resulting in hundreds or thousands of cases in January, and deaths and morbidity and mortality in January in February,” he said.

“We know it’s a really difficult message, but ultimately in my opinion it comes back to people’s willingness to listen to the advice.”

He said if the efforts to follow the advice to date is reflected in what people do at Christmas he is “confident that most people will listen to that advice for this year and not come home”.

“We need people to be able to listen to the advice and make judgements based on their own family circumstances, their own personal circumstances,” Glynn siad.

“And I think in the vast majority cases people will decide for this year it’s simply not worth it.”

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