Families may be able to visit each other on Christmas Day if people keep following public health advice.
That is according to NPHET member and HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry.
It comes as the Taoiseach Micheál Martin comes under pressure from his own party to return the country to Level Two restrictions in December.
NPHET has warned that it won’t be recommending large family gatherings or office parties and the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has urged people living abroad not to fly home for Christmas.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning however, Dr Colm Henry said he is “certainly hopeful” families will be able to visit each other on Christmas Day.
He said it is essential we keep the current reductions in community transmission and case number going.
“We are in a position now as I said earlier, when you look at the whole spectrum of experience across Europe, we are now almost best in class in terms of reversing the trend,” he said.
“So, I am really hopeful we will be in a position to go back to that. That we will have options. We will have a range of options that will allow for people to come together.
“But the better we perform now, the better that platform at the beginning of December, the more options we will have.”
Level Five restrictions have driven the reproductive number of the virus down to 0.6, while the national 14-day incidence is now half what it was at the end of October.
Dr Henry said he can't promise people they will be able to return home from abroad for Christmas.
“There is so much uncertainty at the moment and so much volatility that it is hard to give people a very hard direct message to say, ‘it is OK, things will be fine by Christmas, it will be safe to come home, the place you are living now is safe and will have a low level of COVID in the week running up to Christmas when you plan to come home.’
“We simply can’t say that. It is a very volatile situation.”
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