'I do think Irish people can look forward to a decent Christmas' – Tony Holohan

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Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has shared a message of hope that he believes the six weeks of Level Five restrictions will be enough to get coronavirus back under control in time for Christmas.

peaking with Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show, Dr Holohan was cautiously upbeat about what can be achieved if everyone does their best to avoid close contact. Dr Holohan said: “We will get it back under control… we will be in much better shape after these six weeks.

When asked by Ryan if he thought Ireland should be hopeful about the festive period this year, Dr Holohan said: “Yes, I do think Irish people can look forward to a decent Christmas.

“We are not going to go back to a Christmas like last year. We had a normal Christmas last year but there is clearly going to have to be a change as to how we live through Christmas this year. We, fortunately, didn’t know anything about Covid last Christmas.”


He added: “We don’t want to be in a situation where we have to ask people to restrict doing things they hold dear at Christmas but it will have to be a different one to last year.”

Dr Holohan acknowledged “pandemic fatigue” and said he knew people were fed up of “people like me coming on and giving them bad news all the time” but said if the people of Ireland can do that little bit more, it will make all the difference.

“Six weeks seems like a long period of time, and it is, to shoulder this burden, especially given what we have gone through over the course of the year so far. But, within that time period, if we got to a reproductive number at the level we saw in the springtime, then we could get to a much better place in terms of numbers. If we got below 100 [cases per day], for sure, we would get a substantially long period of time and benefit out of that.

“We are increasingly confident, and we will know more as the year goes on, but we may be able to introduce things like vaccines into our planning, which would be wonderful. We hope that 2021 will give us those developments,” the CMO said.

Dr Holohan admitted that the burden of the virus on young people has been significant but asked them to do just a little bit more to turn the trends in the right direction.

“We have managed to keep the reproduction number between 1.2 and 1.4 in the last few months which means the majority of people in the country are behaving that are helping to suppress the virus, but just not quite enough. We need a bit more, as the level of infection in the population is increasing.

“Yes, we are very concerned but that doesn’t mean we cant express some hope and some optimism about the likelihood of changing the situation. We could change this situation quite quickly,” he said.

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Source: Irish News