Huge interest in NPHET's Covid-19 press conference featuring Dr Tony Holohan sees journalists turned away

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

'Concerning' - Tony Holohan has his say on people hosting house parties

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health in Ireland

A limit was placed on the number of journalists allowed to attend the National Public Health Emergency Team's (NPHET) briefing on Covid-19 such was the big interest in Dr Tony Holohan's first appearance before the press since he returned to work and the proposed lockdown was rejected by Government.

The Departement of Health announced just after 5pm on Wednesday, October 7 that registration for this event had closed, due to the "capacity being reached in the briefing room".

The statement also put a cap on the length of the briefing of about an hour. Out of courtesy to the other media in attendance, journalists were also asked to limit questions to three per person.

Social distancing measures are applied to the briefings but this is the first time the Department has restricted attendance and put limits on the time and number of questions that could be put to Dr Holohan and other NPHET members.

It has been busy and tumultuous few days for the Chief Medical Officer since he returned to work. He chaired a meeting of NPHET last Sunday which recommended a Level 5 lockdown. 

This was rejected by the Government in favour of Level 3 restrictions. Dr Holohan and NPHET came in from criticism from a number of politicians subsequently including An Táinaiste Leo Varadkar who told Claire Byrne on RTÉ that the NPHET recommendation was not thought through.

The NPHET briefings were held each day during the early stages of the pandemic but have since been reduced to three a week.