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'I need you to stay at home unless you absolutely need to leave your home' - Simon Harris pleads with Irish public

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Minister for Health, Simon Harris (Steve Humphreys/PA)

Minister for Health, Simon Harris (Steve Humphreys/PA)

Minister for Health, Simon Harris (Steve Humphreys/PA)

Health Minister Simon Harris has issued a clear and simple plea to members of the Irish public, urging them to not leave their home unless they “absolutely need to”.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show, the minister said that there is a lot of information about the coronavirus and that some of it may have become “clouded”.

“I need you to stay at home unless you absolutely need to leave your home,” he said.

He also dismissed claims that people coming into the country are posing a very high risk, saying that people are most likely to become ill with the coronavirus while at home.

“If you are leaving your house today to make an unnecessary visit to a friend or family member, you are at much greater risk at spreading that virus than anybody else arriving in our country.”

“Anytime any of us leave our home and come into contact with more people, we risk spreading the germs that are this virus.

“It’s not about something coming from abroad coming into our country and sneezing - this is about us acting as if we have the virus and doing everything we can to stop it spreading,” he added.

He said that helping to flatten the COVID-19 curve in Ireland is mostly down to “personal responsibility” and that hiring extra nurses and issuing strict lockdown-like measures would be “in vain” if responsibility is not taken.

“We’re now at the stage of the virus where it is down to us, it’s down to what we decide to do in the coming days and weeks.

“It is now down to personal individual responsibility.”

He also urged younger people to not become complacent that they will not catch the virus.

“It’s not something that exclusively affects older people.

“There should not be a complacency here that, ‘I’m grand, I’m in my 30s, this is something that will affect my granny’.”

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