'Concerted effort' | 

Covid-19: 3,793 new coronavirus infections as first Irish Omicron case confirmed

"Today’s notification of a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 should not change how we are responding to the public health measures that are already in place.
Seoirse Mulgrew

The Department of Health has confirmed 3,793 new cases of Covid-19 today.

As of 8am today, 578 patients were hospitalised with the virus, of whom 117 were in ICU.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the confirmed case of Omicron in Ireland today should not change how people respond to the public health measures in place.

"Today’s notification of a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 Variant B.1.1.529 should not change how we are responding to the public health measures that are already in place.

“The best mitigation we have against transmission of this virus, regardless of the variant, are the public health measures that we are so familiar with and more importantly, that we know will work,” he said.

Dr Holohan urged people to make a “concerted effort” for “at least” the next two weeks to reduce their social contacts.

"For at least the next two weeks, if we can all make a concerted effort to reduce our contacts, then I am hopeful that we can make a real difference to incidence of disease in Ireland.

"There is no group who should feel the public health advice does not apply to them. It is only if we act together that we can keep ourselves, our loved ones and health and social care facilities safe,” he said.

Dr Holohan said people should not go into work tomorrow if they can work from home.

"As we look to the month ahead, consider your choices and make the right ones. Do not go into work tomorrow if you can work from home. If you are an employer, facilitate remote working for your employees.

"It is vital that if you experience any symptoms of Covid-19, you isolate immediately and arrange a PCR test – not an antigen test. Do not go to work, school, college or socialise if you are symptomatic,” he said.

Dr Holohan added that if people do choose to socialise they should think about the risk involved.

"If you do choose to socialise, think about the risk associated with the activities you have planned. Remember the simple steps you can take to keep both you and the people you meet with safe.

“Wear a mask correctly, meet outside, if possible, avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces and practise good hand and respiratory hygiene.

"Be mindful of your contacts in the days after socialising, and especially consider anyone you meet who may be immunocompromised or vulnerable to Covid-19,” he said.

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