Holohan: Working from home message hasn't got through

Holohan: Working from home message hasn't got through

Dr Tony Holohan says there is a 'role for employers to play' in ensuring people do not come to work while sick. File picture: Collins

Workers are still attending workplaces while symptomatic with Covid-19, the Deputy chief medical officer has said.

Dr Ronan Glynn said the behaviour was one example of why Ireland's rate of new cases remained high as the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) yesterday announced four new deaths and 429 cases of the virus.

"As we can see from the data, the level of traffic, the level of attendance at workplaces is higher than we would have expected, given the level of measures that are in place. 

"The key message is that a proportion of cases are arising in workplace settings where people who have attended work while symptomatic. 

"That is a message that hasn't gotten across. It's never acceptable, but this year particularly if people have symptoms, they should not be taking the chance."

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that there was a "role for employers to play" in ensuring people do not come to work while sick, saying there was a need for "leadership".

"Basic public health advice at the moment is for people to stay at home, except in certain situations, like leaving the home for the purpose of essential work. Working from home — I think this message really hasn't gotten through. 

"You look at the traffic and you look at what's going on in workplaces, people will tell you stories that carparks are full, canteens are full in workplaces — some people are really not listening to this message. And they're meeting up unnecessarily. 

"It's absolutely clearly understood that not everybody is in a workplace situation where they can work from home, but clearly many, many people who are in situations where they can work from home are choosing to come into the workplace and meet up and have engagements. They're creating transmission opportunities and that's just one example."

With just 12 days until Ireland's Level 5 restrictions are due to end, Dr Holohan said that a "doubling down of the national effort" was needed to bring the figure down. Nphet has said that it wants to be below 100 cases by December 1. 

Dr Holohan said that he was "still hopeful" that this could be achieved, despite stagnation in a decline in cases over recent days.

Professor Philip Nolan, chair of the Nphet Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group saying that a small change in social habits could bring the R number down to below 0.5 to allow the country have flexibility when it comes to the easing of restrictions.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told the Dáil that the second wave of the virus has been 90% less fatal than the first. 

He paid tribute to the country's healthcare workers for the "extraordinary improvement" in case fatalities.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.