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Professor Nolan urges ‘profound caution’ over Christmas ‘in the interest of your family and friends’


Professor Philip Nolan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Professor Philip Nolan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Professor Philip Nolan (Brian Lawless/PA)

Prof Philip Nolan of Nphet has urged people not to be fearful or downcast this Christmas, but asked people to “keep our Christmas small, very intimate and careful” for the sake of our loved ones.

The Modelling chair of Nphet urged people to take a break this Christmas after a stressful year but asked people to spend time in “small numbers of people most important to us”.

“The virus is spreading rapidly for the last two weeks and that does threaten us and the ones that we love. The core message right now should be not to be fearful or downcast about this, but it does mean we have to keep our Christmas small, very intimate and careful.

”We should celebrate it in a meaningful way but the meaning of that is to be profoundly careful that we don’t put the vulnerable of those among the ones we love at risk.

“If you have been out and about a good bit in recent days, or think that you may put a loved one at risk, the thing to do for that loved one right now is to stay away,” Prof Nolan said.

The Maynooth University President advised the people that feel safe, and those that have exercised caution so far to keep gatherings to a minimum.

“I’m sorry to have to say this but it is in the interest of your family and friends that I say this.

“Don’t spend too long together, if you can, and do all the things you are tired of hearing us say; hand hygiene, wear a mask, socially distance, crack a window for ventilation,” the modelling expert said.

The Nphet member praised the Irish people’s “solidarity” to turn the virus away by doing what is asked each time a wave of the pandemic befalls the nation.

“This time it is coming at us really fast and really hard,” Prof Nolan said, adding: “We have to be really, really careful and what each of us does in the coming weeks is going to determine what the numbers will be in January and February.

“Today isn’t the day to be speculating as to what future figures may be, today is the day to say we can, as ever, stop the spread of this virus by taking the measures outlined,” Prof Nolan said.

Prof Nolan admitted he was not confident current restrictions, as constraining as they are, will be enough to stop the sudden surge in cases but called on the Irish people to “prove me wrong”.

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“We’re heading towards a thousand cases a day and really as a society that gives us no option but to pull back completely and suppress the virus to a certain extent.

“Nphet made a specific set of recommendations to government yesterday, which I’m not at liberty to discuss here and now, but I’ll say that this is a time for reflection and prepare with hope for a new year.

“Vaccines are coming, and while they may not be coming as readily as some people expect, they are coming. We do have to gird our loins and prepare ourselves for a period after Christmas where we need to work together to suppress this virus.

“There is always a distinction of what we can do and what we should do,” Prof Nolan says, adding that people “should do the minimum” this Christmas. He added people need to be mindful of the vulnerable people around them.

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