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Ration activities and cut down on social contacts to reduce surge in Covid cases - Nphet

Dr Tony Holohan warns against going to nightclubs more than once every 10 to 14 days

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Dr Tony Holohan and Professor Martin Cormican at today's Nphet briefing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dr Tony Holohan and Professor Martin Cormican at today's Nphet briefing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dr Tony Holohan and Professor Martin Cormican at today's Nphet briefing. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) has appealed to people to cut down on their social contacts to reduce the “exceptionally high” numbers of cases.

Daily case numbers of over 2,000 and 3,000 are set to continue over the next ten days, according to Professor Philip Nolan.

The mid-term break from school and college has resulted in very high case counts, which have not yet translated into an increase in hospitalisations or deaths.

However public health chiefs also warned that current levels of socialisation are now higher than they were before the pandemic.

“The virus is spreading at very high levels, very strong force of infection. This is a very strong signal to each and every one of us that we really need to wind back social contacts,” said Professor Nolan.

Chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan said that latest data shows that the current levels of socialising are “excessive”.

He said that young people going to nightclubs is “part” of the recent hike in cases and that one in five young people are not vaccinated.

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He added that there are increasing rates of infection in all age groups under 75.

Prof Nolan added that the infection is spreading because “we have all increased our social contact and perhaps because we are not as attentive to risk reduction measures”.

Dr Holohan said there is a need to “dial down” social contacts.

“Ration, if you like, the kinds of discretionary activities that you might undertake,” he said.

He said that if people are planning to invite guests to their house they perhaps should consider smaller numbers.

Prof Nolan also said that there is no guarantee that cases will plateau and eventually fall.

He said that his modelling, which includes many variables, shows that a peak in November could be between 2,000 to 5,000 cases. 

Meanwhile, Dr Holohan warned against going to a nightclub more than once every 10 to 14 days.

Speaking this evening, Dr Holohan said that “high-risk” activities should be followed up by “low risk activities” as he said that social contacts should be cut down.

Dr Holohan said nightclubs are “higher-risk” activities as there are crowds of people indoors.

“If you’re not going to nightclubs more frequently than once every 10 days or once a fortnight in terms of transmission that would make sense,” he said.

“But going to nightclubs every second or third night - if that’s something that there may well be people who do that and want to do that - that would constitute probably too high a level of... And you’re mixing with a lot of other people in those kind of environments.”

He was speaking as the Department of Health today reported a further 3,174 cases.

Dr Holohan warned against taking part in high risk activities, like going to concerts or nightclubs, “seven nights in a row”.

He said that he will be going to a concert soon himself, but that he won’t be “going to concerts seven nights in a row”.

“If individually, we decide that we’re going to undertake a higher risk activity we need to follow that up with let’s say, a lower risk activity.”

He said that young people going to nightclubs is “part” of the recent spike in cases and that one in five young people are not vaccinated.

However, he said nightclubs are not the sole reason for the recent increase in cases, adding that thereare increasing rates of infection in all age groups under 75.

Latest Government data shows that one in four hospitality businesses did not ask for Covid certs last weekend.

Dr Holohan said people should “vote with their feet” and either complain or not go back to that business.


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