People may be able to visit relatives in nursing homes from next week

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said people may be able to visit relatives in nursing homes from next week.
People may be able to visit relatives in nursing homes from next week

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said people may be able to visit relatives in nursing homes from next week.

Nursing homes have been given guidance and advice on allowing visitors and should be in a position to implement that advice from next week he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

The scale of deaths in care home settings in Ireland was at the lower end when compared to the experience of other European countries, he said.

Ireland was being compared to countries that had not reported Covid-19 deaths as comprehensively.

Dr Holohan also said that the clarity of communication on the wearing of face coverings needed to be stepped up.

A campaign was being launched to advise the public on the importance of wearing face coverings on public transport, in shops and in places where physical distancing was difficult to maintain.

To date there had been a very high level of compliance by the public which was why the virus had been suppressed, but face coverings were just one measure on which there should be more focus, he added.

There had been a decrease in the level of transmission with each person who was infected passing it on to fewer people, he added.

If there was a resurgence of the virus he would not propose restrictions like those introduced in March because comparisons could be made by looking at the experiences of other countries and the population’s behaviour.

“We would know what specific measures to take.”

As other countries had eased restrictions, there had been downward trends of rates of transmission across most European countries, he added.

Earlier on Newstalk Breakfast Dr Holohan had warned that people should not become complacent while wearing face masks.

One of things we do have concern about is that if people feel if they wear a mask, it's a little bit like a hurling helmet - are you going to put yourself in more danger when you have a helmet on because you feel a little bit more invincible.

He said it was important that people not think like that. Face masks were an added measure on top of other measures that were important like hand hygiene and physical distancing.

Dr Holohan said that when he visited his local Dunnes Stores he wore a face mask.

“I don't particularly like doing it myself, if I'm very honest with you.”

On the issue of working from home Dr Holohan urged anyone who can work from home to continue to do so.

“People shouldn't drift back to work on the basis that they're now coming back to the office because the risk of this has receded.

“They need to work from home where possible - but we know that some work places that that isn't possible, and that other measures have to be taken to try and provide protection for people in work place settings.”

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