Limiting social contacts is best way avoid more lockdowns, says Prof Philip Nolan

Prof Phlip Nolan: 'The subtle message is to reduce your social contacts by half and, if we do that, Dublin can move down from level 3 to level 2 and other counties will be able to avoid those restrictions that were imposed on Dublin.'
Limiting social contacts is best way avoid more lockdowns, says Prof Philip Nolan

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan: "It's going take at least a week to see results of the measures introduced in Dublin at the weekend." Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

The chair of NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, Professor Philip Nolan, is warning that even the best Covid-19 testing and tracing system is still secondary to limiting social contacts.

Professor Nolan says that while testing was important, the primary defence was to limit contacts and to be really careful.

Speaking to RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland this morning, Professor Nolan said: “The more social outings, the higher the risk of infection. 

"We're advising people to exercise personal discretion about how often they are going to engage in social activity,” he added, referring to the opening of wet pubs outside Dublin today.

Prof. Nolan said that social contact was important for people’s welfare and health and he understood many people's desire to have some level of social interaction, but he warned that the more interaction that takes place, the greater the risk.

He said: “The subtle message is to reduce your social contacts by half and, if we do that, Dublin can move down from level 3 to level 2 and other counties will be able to avoid those restrictions that were imposed on Dublin."

However, he warned that even if people “worked really hard”, progress towards reduced transmission could still be very slow. 

He said that if the rate of transmission were to stabilise over the next ten days time it would be "a really good sign."

“We need to keep at it to keep the trend downwards."

Prof. Nolan added that now was not the time for negligence, even if the mortality rate for those aged over 65 was now one in 20 - down from one in five in April. 

He said that Covid-19 was, "still a lethal virus.” 

He said that recent figures were a warning of the need to treat the virus seriously, but he did not want people to panic, and that a calm response was required. 

“We can get it under control.

"It's going take at least a week to see results of the measures introduced in Dublin at the weekend," he added.

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