Covid-19 lockdown breaches mean that virus decrease has plateaued at too high level warns Dr Tony Holohan #STAYHOME

NPHET boss warns that the virus is now rooted in every part of Ireland with UK variant taking hold

coronavirus covid-19

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

Breaches by too many people of the Covid-19 restrictions designed to save lives means the fall in cases has levelled off at a 'far too high level' of infection, Dr Tony Holohan has warned who adds the disease has taken root in every corner of Ireland.

The Chief Medical Officer also told Irish people that the virus is now rooted in every part of Irelan with the UK variant making controlling the spread adding to the problems caused by non-compliance.  

Dr Tony Holohan is the head of the National Public Health Emergency Team which confirmed that more than 3,200 more people were confirmed infected on Friday when 60 more deaths were reported.

"This virus has taken root in every single part of the country. A significant percentage of the population - in excess of 1 in 10 in some counties - is currently either a case or a close contact. This is a huge burden of infection. When you consider that a significant percentage of our daily cases will directly lead to hospitalisation and mortality, the urgency with which we need to act becomes clear. By staying at home, you are protecting our health and social care services as they struggle against the enormous burden of infection that many weeks with thousands of daily cases of COVID-19 represents. 

“The improvements in cases is not happening fast enough. Too many people are still not complying as fully as we need with the advice. There are early indications that we may be levelling off in terms of improvement, but at far, far too high a level of infection. The UK variant is very likely making our challenge more difficult. Please follow the public health advice. The safest place at the moment is at home. Please stay at home,” he said.

Dr Cillian De Gaston, Medical Virologist and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said the UK mutant has had implications for Ireland which the public must act in response to.

“Due to the nature of the mutation found in the UK variant of the virus, it is inevitable that it will become the dominant variant here in Ireland over time. The UK variant has adapted to us: simply put, it is better at moving from person to person when we come into contact.

"So what we must do is reduce its opportunities to spread by cutting out socialising. Stay home. Do not visit anyone else’s home. Do not attend illegal gatherings. Remember the simple and effective measures from springtime – wash your hands well and often, wear a mask, cough and sneeze into your elbow, keep 2 metres of space from others, and phone your GP at the very first sign of COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.

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