Digital Desk Staff
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has urged people not to rush out to shops and restaurants in the coming weeks, for fear of causing a surge in Covid-19 cases.
With the country moving out of Level 5 and starting to reopen, the country’s leading health experts have warned people to avoid busy locations to ensure they can enjoy greater levels of contact with their loved ones over the Christmas period.
As the Irish Examiner reports, Dr Holohan and his colleagues in Nphet said the Level 5 measures had saved hundreds of lives and staved off potentially thousands of cases of the coronavirus.
He said there was not an “inevitability” of a fresh spike in case numbers in the coming weeks if people adhere to public health guidelines.
However, he warned the public needs to be wary, urging people to avoid crowded shops and streets, and to wear masks in busy environments.
Asked about the possibility that people might hold Christmas parties, Dr Holohan said: “It should not be happening.”
Dr Holohan also said the high-level task force on Covid-19 vaccination will deliver the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy and Implementation Plan to Government by the end of next week.
However, he said he would not be drawn on which groups of people should be first administered any vaccine once it becomes available.
He also warned that public health measures will still need to be followed even after the vaccine is rolled out. The task force is due to deliver its report to Government by December 11th.
Ireland has signed up to the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccinations — both of which have published positive early indicator reports recently.
Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca are now looking for market authorisation within the coming weeks.
That news comes as the latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) showed one additional death related to Covid-19 and 306 new confirmed cases.
The latest fatality means 119 people died from Covid-19 in November.
The HPSC also confirmed there were 259 people in hospital due to Covid-19, and 31 people in intensive care units.
There has now been a total of 2,053 Covid-19 related deaths in the country along with 72,544 confirmed cases.
Of the cases notified yesterday: 56 were men and 148 were women, 67 per cent are under 45 years of age and the median age was 35 years old.
In terms of location: 108 were in Dublin, 30 in Limerick, 22 in Galway, 17 in Donegal, 15 in Wicklow, 14 in Cork and the remaining 100 cases were spread across 18 other counties.