Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

10.22 12 Dec 2020


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The Chief Medical Officer has warned it is crucial that people "ration" their social contacts in the weeks ahead.

Dr Tony Holohan said the public needs to play it safe and choose carefully who they meet in the run-up to Christmas.

With less than two weeks until the big day, he said we need to decide who will be socialising with and to minimise our interactions in order to reduce the chance of passing on COVID-19.

It comes as 313 new cases of coronavirus were reported last night, with three more deaths also confirmed.

In an interview with Newstalk, Dr Holohan explained that we need to be selective in how we use our level three freedoms, and while there are lots of activities we can do under these restrictions, it's important "we don't do all of them".

He said: "It's 13 days to Christmas Day, now is the time to start thinking about the plans you'll have over Christmas, who you'll be meeting.

"Minimise your social contacts over the next 14 days, reduce the chance of picking up this infection before Christmas and that minimises the chance of you passing this infection on to someone you love over the Christmas period."

Dr Holohan advised people to "think hard over the next two weeks" about what is essential in terms of preparing for the festive period.

For some, this might be shopping but for others, it could be social activities like eating in restaurants.

He said: "If we each do all the things that are possible, it will lead to too much social contact and too much transmission of the infection ahead of Christmas.

"If each one of us limits the number of social contacts we have over the course of the next two weeks we can really minimise the chance of a significant increase in infection after Christmas.

He added that each one of us has a responsibility to minimise those risks of contracting COVID-19 to make Christmas as safe as possible.

Dr Holohan said: "Particularly, we're worried about people who are over the age of 70 and people with underlying medical conditions."

He warned that if we are spending time with elderly or vulnerable people in our family in the coming weeks, we need to be extra vigilant in ensuring we limit our activities to ensure we don't pass on the virus to someone we love.

He added: "It's very understandable that people want to do a lot of things, it's been a long year for so many people, people have lost jobs, have suffered economic hardship, have been limited in their ability to interact with friends and family.

"But the public has kept up a very high level of practice of good public health behaviours, we know that.

"It's really important that we hold on to that now, we're in the early weeks and month of January of looking forward to vaccines and this is a really exciting development.

"It would be a real shame if we let go and had a significant surge of infection before were in a position to get the vaccine to the population in the early part of 2021."

Dr Holohan wished people a happy and safe Christmas and appealed for us to follow public health advice so we can all have a safe festive period.

Main image: Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie

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Chief Medical Officer Christmas Coronavirus Covid-19 Covid-19 Vaccine Dr Tony Holohan Social Contacts

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