Covid-19: 'The virus spreads where people get together,' warns medical expert

Covid-19: 'The virus spreads where people get together,' warns medical expert

It was important to limit social contacts and to continue with hand hygiene, wearing masks and social distancing according to the GP. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

The Irish College of General Practitioners’ (ICGP) lead on Covid-19, Dr Nuala O’Connor has called on the public to be more careful and imaginative in their social interactions if they want to avoid wider lockdowns.

“We all need to learn how to live with the virus, but we have to be careful about how we do this,” she told RTÉ radio’s News at One.

Dr O’Connor acknowledged that it will be very difficult for parents to tell their children that they can’t have birthday parties, they will have to be more careful and imaginative, to avoid a wider lockdown.

It was important to limit social contacts and to continue with hand hygiene, wearing masks and social distancing, she said.

Maintain Discipline 

The increase in community transmission through family gatherings and house parties had meant that people “may have let their guard down,” she said.

“We know that the virus spreads where people get together.” That could be in a house, at a restaurant or at a sporting event, anywhere people are in close proximity and there was a breakdown in the two metre rule.

“That’s why we’re all being asked to limit social contacts.” Dr O’Connor said that there was more of the virus in the community and the public knew what to do to suppress it. 

If anyone felt unwell, she urged them to call their GP and to be patient as they responded to many calls.

GPs had noticed an increase in patients calling with concerns about the virus and they had been sending more patients to be tested, but at present the majority of those being tested were negative.

Dr O’Connor said that at present there is also a Rhino virus in circulation, but that if people were suffering any symptoms they needed to take themselves out of circulation and contact their GP.

Meanwhile, Dublin consultant Laura Durcan has said that the public needs more information about what constitutes “at risk behaviour” rather than expecting the gardaí to “police” public behaviour.

The recent increase in cases of Covid-19 was not “all down to house parties and young people” she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

“We need to think about brunches, lunches, dinner parties and communions too. We have to be able to personalise the message and modify our behaviour,” said Dr Durcan.

Dr Durcan also warned about "finger pointing" at young people when the majority had been “remarkably compliant”.

She said she wanted clear messaging from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) about what constitutes at risk behaviour and social gatherings “so I can modify my behaviour.”

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