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It's time to plan your Covid-safe Christmas - Nolan

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan ‘staying at home’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan ‘staying at home’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Colin Keegan

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan ‘staying at home’. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Ireland is still at high risk of a January coronavirus surge as 15 more Covid-19 related deaths - 10 of which happened this month - were reported yesterday.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan also confirmed he will not be visiting any restaurants this Christmas for personal reasons, although he accepted other people may need to do so to meet up with friends.

Professor Philip Nolan, who is tracking the virus, said: "Now is the time to make decisions about what interactions are necessary and pose the lowest risk to you, your family and friends over Christmas.

"Please be mindful that this remains a very dangerous virus, especially for vulnerable and older persons.

"We have the know-how and the determination to keep suppressing this disease, to protect our family and friends over Christmas."

He was speaking as another 310 people were diagnosed with the virus, indicating the country has reached a stable point. But the objective is to keep it at that level.

The number of patients in hospital are declining slowly, with 202 recorded yesterday, including 36 in intensive care, where there is no sign of any fall yet.

Infection

The R number is at 0.9-1, which means each positive person passes it on to one other .

Prof Nolan warned the number of deaths each day are still too high. The level of infection in the over 85s is also falling but it remains excessive and there is no evidence the virus is less lethal. He said the risk of dying with the virus increases with age.

However, people in the 40-59 age bracket have a one in 1,000 risk of dying from Covid-19 - which is low but not "negligible". It rises to one in 20 for people aged 70 to 80 and one in six for the over 85s.

He said it emphasises the need for caution with intergenerational mixing over Christmas.

Dr Holohan said that today marks "14 days to Christmas Day. To ensure the safest possible interaction with your family over Christmas, consider restricting your movements now.

"Risk-assess the environments you plan to be in over the next two weeks; are they compliant with public health measures?

"Can you keep a two-metre distance? Are people wearing face coverings? Now is the time to make decisions about what interactions are necessary and pose the lowest risk to you, your family and friends over Christmas."


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