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Words of caution Dr Tony Holohan says 'we are not there yet' as he urges public not to get ahead of easing of restrictions

He was speaking as a further ten deaths and 617 cases were announced, the highest daily case count since April 1

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Dr Tony Holohan is flanked by Professor Philip Nolan and Dr Ronan Glynn at the briefing. Photo: Colin Keegan

Dr Tony Holohan is flanked by Professor Philip Nolan and Dr Ronan Glynn at the briefing. Photo: Colin Keegan

Dr Tony Holohan is flanked by Professor Philip Nolan and Dr Ronan Glynn at the briefing. Photo: Colin Keegan

Dr Tony Holohan has urged the public not to get ahead of the easing of restrictions as he took part in a press conference for the first time in over two months.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) said that the public should not take part in anticipatory behaviour as this may risk the easing of lockdown measures before they are eased.

He was speaking as a further ten deaths and 617 cases were announced, the highest daily case count since April 1.

“The key thing from our point of view is that we don’t find ourselves in a situation whereby as we ease through restrictions, that the public or the population gets ahead of us in terms of anticipatory behaviour and puts further progress that we might make collectively in easing restrictions at risk,” he said on Thursday.

“We’re still a little concerned about where the disease is at. We’ve seen some numbers in recent days that give us reason for concern that we’re going to have to observe more closely.”

Even though he acknowledged that the risk of contracting the virus has reduced, that it is not a reason for not abiding by restrictions.

“We are not there yet, we have to stress that.

“We simply have to keep up a high level of sensible, necessary, public health measures as we move through vaccinating as many of the population as possible.

He said that he didn’t want signs of hope from Nphet to be interpreted as “some kind of signal to people to go ahead and ignore the public health restrictions and to go ahead, and to move ahead as we have seen happen in the past unfortunately in some cases, and feel that it’s okay to go ahead with house parties.”

“We have to stay the course,” he added.

Chair of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan said that the R number is now between 0.9 and 1, meaning that we are in a “stable but vulnerable position”.

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He said the outcome of easing of restrictions on April 12, which included the return of children to school, will begin to show from now on.

However, he said that he expects “at least a transient” increase in cases in the coming weeks, due to less people staying at home.

“Every time we open schools we see an increased attendance in workplaces and a decreased presence in the household,” he said.

Presence in workplaces is higher than it has been since January.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that two out of three people are now going to work.

This week, there have been 12 outbreaks in workplaces, 17 in childcare facilities and 26 in schools.

All apart from two of the outbreaks childcare and school settings have less than 10 cases and those with more than 10 cases have less than 15 cases.

Nphet also agreed today to allow additional indoor visits for nursing homes.

From May 4th, nursing homes and long term residential care facilities where residents and staff have been mostly vaccinated will be able to have four indoor visits per week with two people per visit.

This will apply in nursing homes where about 80pc of residents are vaccinated.

This should apply in addition to window and outdoor visits for residents.


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