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Dubs need to take great care over next week to avoid virus

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Masked shoppers on Grafton Street

Masked shoppers on Grafton Street

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Masked shoppers on Grafton Street

Health chiefs have warned the country risks being plunged back into a Covid-19 setback in the coming weeks.

Acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn appealed to the people of Dublin and Limerick in particular to follow the rules in the next week and bring the rising levels of virus in both counties under control.

It comes as the public was urged to stock up now on warm clothing if they want to meet friends outdoors this winter.

CONCERN

Dublin remains top of the league table for new infections during that time with 791 additional cases.

Limerick has been added to the "extreme concern" watch list after it emerged 116 newly diagnosed cases of the virus were diagnosed there in the last fortnight. However, acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn warned people in both counties the "next week is vital."

"People need to take all precautions in the next week. They need to assume that Covid-19 is circulating in the community and act appropriately," he said.

"If they do not we will see increases in cases and we will be back into places we don't want to be in the coming weeks."

They need to physically distance and keep to the rule on "an absolute maximum" of six people from no more than three households indoors and 15 outside rule.

Dr Glynn said 102 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday and there were no further deaths - a pattern which has now emerged since mid August.

Overall the spread of the virus is stable. Asked about the reopening of so-called wet pubs, he said the "next seven days will be really important" and if "things stay stable we can see".

The National Public Emergency Team (Nphet) meets on Thursday and will advise the Government on how it should proceed in the area of any possible restrictions and re-openings. The public was also advised at yesterday's briefing to be prepared to spend more time outdoors if they want to gather with extended family and friends in the chilly months ahead. They should plan now to ensure they have proper warm clothes.

RISK

"Now is the time to plan for the winter months ahead," said Pete Lunn of the ESRI, who is tracking how the nation behaves in the crisis. People should take control of their environment and ensure they have the right clothing, he said.

Research showed the general public underestimated the benefits of being outdoors in reducing the risks from the virus.

"Take control of your own environment by ensuring your household is up to date on, and actioning, the public health advice," he said. "Make it a habit to get outside, to socialise and exercise safely and physically distance."