24 May 2022

Dr Holohan warns about the risks of letting Covid-19 guard down

coronavirus covid-19

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

People run the risk of reversing the progress made in suppressing the Covid-19 virus if the let their guard down to much or too early, Dr Tony Holohan has warned.

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, who recently returned to work after the death of his wife, said progress made should not be lost in the daily statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

“We are in a strong position in that transmission levels have reduced substantially and the roll-out of vaccination is protecting more and more of those at risk from the severe effects of COVID-19," he said.

However, on a day when more than 600 new cases were confirmed, he cautioned about what is to come if compliance with measures weakens.

“If we can maintain our current position there is hope that we can look forward to a real easing of measures, but it is as important as ever that we don’t put that progress at risk by letting our collective guard down too much, or too early,” he said.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group said the situation is stable but the spread over the coming weeks will be a a factor in easing restrictions.

“The R number is estimated as being very close to 1.0. We continue to keep close contacts at 2.6 – a phenomenal testament to the public in keeping social transmission low. All indicators of the disease are stable or declining slowly, though we may see an increase in cases over the coming days.

"Maintaining this over the coming weeks is key to managing community transmission, and a move towards easing of measures," he said.

 Professor Martin Cormican, Clinical Lead for Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, HSE & Professor of Bacteriology at NUI Galway said vaccination is having an effect where people are most at risk.

“The benefits of vaccination in Nursing Homes and long-term residential care facilities are now very clear with a dramatic drop in the number of residents and staff developing severe disease.

“New visitation guidance agreed by NPHET today represents another step to support residents in long-term residential care facilities in maintaining meaningful relationships with their family and friends.  From the 4th May, nursing home residents - in which most residents are fully vaccinated - can expect 4 visits with 2 people per week,” he said.


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