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Ireland’s chief medical officer warns public to avoid restaurants and crowds

Dr Tony Holohan said coronavirus case numbers were rising quickly.

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Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health, has urged people to stay at home and avoid restaurants as cases of coronavirus rise across the country (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health, has urged people to stay at home and avoid restaurants as cases of coronavirus rise across the country (Brian Lawless/PA)

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer at the Department of Health, has urged people to stay at home and avoid restaurants as cases of coronavirus rise across the country (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ireland’s chief medical officer has urged people to stay at home and avoid restaurants as cases of coronavirus rise across the country.

Dr Tony Holohan said people should not meet up and warned against being in crowds.

It is the latest warning from the chief medical officer who said there is strong reason for “persistent, ongoing concern” over Ireland’s recent Covid-19 figures.

He tweeted on Sunday morning: “Cases rising quickly.

“We have low cases and deaths compared to EU/UK/US.

“This is at risk now – just as vaccines arrive.

“To protect yourself and those you love: Stay home. Don’t meet up. Stay away from restaurants/pubs.

“Avoid crowds. Use masks. Follow health advice.”

On Saturday the Department of Health confirmed five more people died of the virus, bringing the total death toll to 2,154.

The department also reported 527 new cases of the virus.

Dr Holohan also said it is not too late to change Christmas plans and cut down on the number of contacts.

The national 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population now stands at 102.4.

On Sunday morning there were 220 patients with Covid-19 in hospital including 29 in ICU.

There were 13 additional admissions to hospital in a 24-hour period.

Ireland relaxed its Covid-19 restrictions on Friday, allowing inter-county travel over Christmas until January 6 and permitting three households to meet indoors.

But tougher restrictions are set to be imposed before the New Year.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin confirmed on Friday that pubs and restaurants will be closed before New Year’s Eve.

He said he would recommend to Cabinet that gastropubs and restaurants now close early.

Public health bosses have recommended stricter measures to Government, including that pubs and restaurants be closed before the New Year and greater restrictions be placed on household visits after Christmas.

It comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) warned that cases of Covid-19 are accelerating faster than anticipated after restrictions were eased at the beginning of December.

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