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Dr Tony Holohan reveals his Covid cert was not checked in Dublin Airport as health chiefs predict rise in deaths

Chief medical officer warned against a ‘free for all’ in nightclubs on Friday and said pub and restaurant customers should complain if their Covid certs aren’t checked

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Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid-19 media briefing. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid-19 media briefing. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, pictured this evening at a Covid-19 media briefing. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has revealed his Covid cert was not checked as he returned through Dublin Airport recently.

Dr Holohan revealed his disappointment at his experience as he returned to Dublin on Friday, as health chiefs warned of a rise in deaths from Covid on the way as case numbers increase.

Dr Holohan said he is in favour of better enforcement of Covid passes at pubs and restaurants and that if owners want to “attract and maintain” loyal customers they should enforce the passes properly.

“Maybe it isn’t the easiest thing for people, particularly in this country, to try and start to complain, into a restaurant when they go in,” he said.

“But the ideal thing would be to leave and to not go back to that environment.”

Dr Holohan said that if owners want to build “loyal customers” they should have protective measures in place, including the use of hand sanitiser.

“If bars and restaurants understand that in order to attract and maintain loyal customers they offer an environment which is safe by adhering to these measures,” added Dr Holohan.

He also revealed that his Covid cert was not checked when arriving into Dublin Airport from abroad last week.

“I came through Dublin Airport last Friday and I wasn’t checked in terms of my [immunity] status whereas I was checked [on the other side].

He said that he is “concerned” about Digital Covid Certs not being checked at airports when there is the means to do so.

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“I am concerned about that and I think we have the means, the data, the technology, all that kind of stuff, to lift up our level of collective performance in terms of oversight,” he said.

Health chiefs have said they anticipate an increase in deaths due to Covid-19 due to “worrying and concerning” rises in cases and numbers in hospital.

Dr Holohan said that there was “no question” that the public is not adhering to restrictions as much as it used to and said that this is due to “anticipatory behaviour” of measures lifting.

He also warned against a “free for all” at nightclubs when they reopen on Friday.

Customers will be able to book multiple tables at bars and restaurants under new hospitality guidance, independent.ie has learned.

Patrons will also be able to book multiple tables at restaurants and pubs of 10 people per table or 15 including children.

It was proposed at a meeting between the hospitality sector and Government officials that customers would be able to order at the bar at both nightclubs, pubs and restaurants

Officials at the Department of Tourism are scrambling to finalise the guidelines, which are due before Friday, when nightclubs are set to reopen.

Dr Holohan made his comments as Professor Philip Nolan reported an increase in incidence across all age groups and said that the future trajectory of the virus is “very uncertain”.

Dr Holohan said that the numbers of deaths from Covid-19 are expected to rise in the coming weeks.

“A worrying and concerning increase that we’re seeing a rise in cases and rise in hospitalisations and admissions to ICU and unfortunately, we anticipate and expect this to be followed by a rise of deaths,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we do expect to see a significant increase in the numbers of deaths occuring as a result.”

He said that people who are vulnerable or aged over 60 should “stay away” from high risk environments, such as “indoor settings with crowds”.

Dr Holohan said that it is “particularly important” that people who are vulnerable, especially those over 60, minimise their “discretionary social contacts”.

He said that they should “take measures to protect themselves from the transmission of this virus”.

There are approximately 350,000 adults still not fully vaccinated, including one in five people aged 18 to 30 and 40pc of 12 to 15 year olds not fully vaccinated.

Professor Nolan said that as incidence of the virus increases, there is an increased number of older people being admitted to hospital.

He denied that there has been any evidence of the vaccine waning, even though Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said earlier on Wednesday that the reduction of vaccine immunity is “partly” one of the reasons why Covid numbers are rising.

“We’re seeing very little evidence, if any, of waning immunity in the population at the moment.

“Even though the population was vaccinated at different points in time, we’re seeing incidence rising uniformly across all segments of the population.”


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