People listened to advice so we can be optimistic, says senior medic

People listened to advice so we can be optimistic, says senior medic
Dr. Ronan Glynn, Acting Chief Medical Officer, pictured at a Covid -19 update press conference at the Department of Health. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Ireland’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis is getting better because people are heeding health warnings, say health chiefs.

Dr Ronan Glynn, acting Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said this means that transmission is down. 

And he said even while "we can be uncertain" about the future, we can also be optimistic because "people listened" to the advice in recent weeks.

But he warned that the reduced transmission "won’t stay that way if people don’t continue to take care".

"Community transmission is still an issue," he said in the latest Department of Health Covid-19 briefing.

Although the Health Protection Surveillance Centre was informed that nine people with Covid-19 have died, all but one of these were 'historic' deaths and happened earlier in the year. 

There were, however, seven confirmed new cases of Covid-19.

Dr Glynn said: “Two weeks ago, we expressed our concerns about worrying trends in the progression of Covid-19 in Ireland. 

"Collectively, people in Ireland responded to this call for action and together have broken chains of transmission. 

"This is a further demonstration of the power of people working together and rising to the continued challenge of this unprecedented pandemic. 

"What we need now is to hold firm and keep up the good work."

He emphasised that this continues to be a physical distance of two metres between one another, frequent hand washing, wearing a face-covering where appropriate and 'cough/sneeze hygiene'.

Although upbeat, he said social distancing is a concern: "The single biggest thing I see day-to-day is that people are forgetting to physically distance. People have dropped their guard."

And he urged: "Just please keep thinking about that distance."

He was asked about forthcoming pub openings and whether or not he is concerned: "Pubs are one of the highest risk environments. We need to look at where the disease is at. 

We want to get society functioning as normally as possible but it needs to done safely.

He urged caution to anybody planning to 'staycation': "It can be fully expected that as people move around, the patterns of the disease will move with (them). 

"The disease moves with people, and the more movement there is, the more likely it is that the disease will get seated in other places. So, hopefully it won’t result in problems."

Meanwhile, referring to the second building site in as many days to close due to Covid-19, he emphasised that there is no cluster at the second site.

It was a single case and the site was only being closed due to an "abundance of caution".

And he added: "There is no suggestion anything went wrong here. We have always known there will be a cluster in work environments."

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