Dr Colm Henry: Handshakes 'beyond resuscitation' in post-Covid world

As of Wednesday, 254,948 first doses have been administered while 136,407 second doses have been given.
Dr Colm Henry: Handshakes 'beyond resuscitation' in post-Covid world

"Whatever about the handshake, which may be beyond resuscitation as a social exercise," Dr Henry said.

The Chief Clinical Officer for the HSE, says handshaking might become a thing of the past in life after the Covid-19 pandemic.

When asked about his view of life after Covid, Dr Colm Henry told RTÉ Radio 1's This Week, he doesn't expect anyone believes life will go back to "exactly where it was" before the pandemic began.

"Whatever about the handshake, which may be beyond resuscitation as a social exercise," Dr Henry said.

"I think hugging will certainly come back, but I think at this stage there's much more hope than despair looking at the real-world evidence of vaccines."

Dr Henry said that countries, where the vaccines have been rolled out, are already seeing huge drops in hospitalisation, serious illness and death in the "most vulnerable groups".

He said this justifies the Irish decision to priorities these groups for vaccination first.

He said: "At this point in time we're seeing real benefits for health care workers, real benefits for frontline workers in hospitals, real benefits for residents in residential care settings, which translates right through to safer hospitals, safer health care settings and reduced illness, hospitalisation and death in older people."

Easing of restrictions

A senior member of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) says he expects there to be an easing of Covid-19 restrictions from April or May.

A continuation of Level 5 restrictions will last until at least April 5, while any further easing of restrictions will need a further three to four week period to allow for assessment of the impact of changes.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group and Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Professor Nolan says he expects widespread vaccination will be underway in the summer months.

Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group and Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health. Professor Nolan says he expects widespread vaccination will be underway in the summer months.

Professor Philip Nolan, who chairs NPHET's modelling group, says he expects widespread vaccination will be underway in the summer months.

As of Wednesday, 254,948 first doses have been administered while 136,407 second doses have been given.

Professor Nolan told Newstalk restrictions can be relaxed once more people are vaccinated against the virus.

He said: "I anticipate there be some progressive easing of restrictions over time from April, May onwards.

"There'll probably be a point at which we have quite wide-spread vaccinations that many of the restrictions can fall away very quickly, particularly if vaccination is highly effective, as we hope it might be, in interrupting transmission."

New Covid variants

New laws proposing mandatory hotel quarantine for people arriving from high-risk countries won't come into effect for another week or two.

New laws proposing mandatory hotel quarantine for people arriving from high-risk countries won't come into effect for another week or two.

Meanwhile, a public health expert says new variants of Covid-19 will come to our country very swiftly unless we take action to prevent it.

It comes as 738 new cases of the virus have been recorded here and 13 more people have died.

There are 551 Covid patients in hospital this morning and 132 in ICU.

New laws proposing mandatory hotel quarantine for people arriving from high-risk countries won't come into effect for another week or two.

Professor Anthony Staines of Dublin City University (DCU) told Newstalk the Government's response is too slow.

"The Government is bringing in mandatory hotel quarantining but at a very leisurely pace, and from a very restricted number of countries," Prof Staines said.

"We see these new variants of concern are being found everywhere, so for example there was a new variant of concern identified last week and it was found on the same day in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

"We don't know where it came from."

This weekend marks a year since the first case of Covid-19 in the Republic and the deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, says the country is now in a much better place.

Dr Glynn says the trends are heading in the right direction and is urging people to keep up their efforts to suppress the virus.

"I'm very hopeful that if we can continue to suppress the case numbers down through March that we will be able to give people much greater levels of certainty about the spring and summer ahead by the end of March.

"But it is all contingent on us managing to keep things under control over the coming weeks in particular."

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