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Not so Merry Stephen Donnelly says to skip work Christmas parties if you've been socialising

"The advice right now is we have so much social contact that this disease is just rising far too quickly," he said.

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Stephen Donnelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Stephen Donnelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Stephen Donnelly (Niall Carson/PA)

Stephen Donnelly has advised people to avoid work Christmas parties this year if they’ve been “doing a lot of other things.”

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast today following a recent surge in Covid cases, the Minister for Health said that Christmas office parties – an annual event in many workplaces – can go ahead provided attendees have reduced their social contacts.

“The advice is not: ‘Don't have any social contact.’ The advice right now is we have so much social contact that this disease is just rising far too quickly,” he said.

“So, what the Government is asking, what public health advice is, is to reduce your social contacts. The Chief Medical Officer talked last night about trying to halve your social contacts.

“That doesn't mean not going to see Ronaldo tonight... It doesn't mean not having your Christmas party.

“It means in the round, when you look at everything you're doing, do the things that are most important to you and the more discretionary ones, just for now, just cut them out.

“It’s about saying whatever is most important to you, do that. But whatever is less important, just cut back on those.

“For some people, the Christmas party might be the highlight of their year and for them, by all means go.

“For other people who are doing a lot of other things, they don't really care about the Christmas party, that might be something that they choose not to do.

“If you are going to go, make sure that you have a mask, make sure that you’re following the basic etiquette, keep socially distanced where possible, and make sure the room is well-ventilated.”

On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan urged the public to consider halving their social interactions this winter to reduce the spread of Covid.

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“If you’re planning to go out two nights a week, maybe just go out once. If you’re planning to have 10 people over to the house for a particular event, maybe just have five,” he told reporters at yesterday’s NPHET briefing.

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