Holohan encourages people to stay at home in the run up to Christmas

ireland
Holohan Encourages People To Stay At Home In The Run Up To Christmas Holohan Encourages People To Stay At Home In The Run Up To Christmas
Dr Holohan said that the most effective thing that people could do was to stay at home. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

The chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has said that he would be encouraging people to stay at home ahead of Christmas, and that not going out was the responsible decision.

Dr Holohan was responding to a question on RTÉ radio's News at One when asked if companies should cancel Christmas parties.

"People are making decisions to reduce their risk. These are decisions that nobody wants to be making," he said.

Dr Holohan said that the most effective thing that people could do was to stay at home. In as much as possible people should work from home, and he urged employers to allow staff to do this.

“We need to ensure that those who can work from home do work from home,” he said.

The chief medical officer pointed out that the 200,000 people who could potentially be infected across December have not yet been infected and transmission could be avoided if people took action now.

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“There is no single measure on its own that will curb this. We need to use all of the measures together and use them properly and appropriately.”

If 200,000 were infected in December as was predicted in the modelling that would mean 4,000 people would be hospitalised, and the system was already under pressure.

“We need to do more,” he said.

Clear signal

Dr Holohan also warned that the predicted figure of 200,000 could be doubled if action was not taken, but it was not inevitable that such levels would occur. Those people were not infected yet, snf action could be taken in the next two weeks to avoid such levels.

“The most important measures are the things that you as an individual can do. Wash your hands, wear a mask, limit your contacts, avoid crowds,” he urged.

Dr Holohan called on anyone who had symptoms to isolate and get a PCR test, not an antigen test. Their close contacts should also restrict their movements.

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The recommendation that people should work from home sent a clear signal that “we are in a serious situation,” but it was one that was preventable.

When asked about the National Public Health Emergency Team’s position on antigen tests, Dr Holohan said he had always said they had a role to play “in some circumstances”. However, he added that people could not rely on a negative test result to conclude they did not have Covid and to go out socialising.

No single measure on its own was going to solve the issue, he said. All the measures needed to be used together and properly, but the most important thing was the behaviour of the public.

People also needed to wear their masks properly. He also encouraged people to take their booster appointment when it was offered.

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