Chief medical officer urges reduced contacts as Covid cases soar

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Christmas shoppers in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
Christmas shoppers in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

The chief medical officer has urged people to reduce their contacts as Covid-19 cases soar.

Dr Tony Holohan was speaking as Ireland recorded a new record high number of daily cases on Christmas Day.

A further 13,765 cases of the virus were notified on Saturday, up from 11,182 cases announced on Friday.

The Department of Health said “large volumes” of case numbers are anticipated over the coming period.

Approximately 83% of reported cases are believed to be the Omicron variant.

Dr Holohan emphasised that Omicron is more transmissible than Delta and urged that everyone continues to reduce contacts and avoid crowded places as much as possible.

“We know that this variant is more transmissible than even the highly transmissible Delta variant,” he said.

“As such, please do not socialise or meet indoors with people from other households.

“Avoid crowded places including retail environments.

“Choose to shop online where possible, queue outside and leave any retail environment that does not feel safe and that is not adhering to the public health guidance – implementing social distancing measures and queuing system, limiting numbers in-store and staff wearing masks correctly (covering nose, mouth and chin).

“If you are yet to receive a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, then you should take every measure you can to protect yourself until you are eligible to receive it.

“This includes avoiding risky environments and keeping your contacts as low as possible.

“All of the available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will offer good protection against infection with the Omicron variant.

“If you have travelled to Ireland from overseas it is important that you take an antigen test every day for five days.

“If anyone experiences any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, then it is important to self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.

“Our test centres are very busy at the moment due to the high incidence of Covid-19 across the country, however, it is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive the result of your PCR test and further information from the HSE.”

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