Tony Holohan highlights ‘encouraging signs’ but asks public to ‘go the extra mile’


Irish people will have to “go the extra mile” to ensure that restrictions on movement are limited to two weeks.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said today that he was hopeful that the government’s restrictions, announced on Friday, would work as the country prepares for a surge of cases between 10 and 14 April.

“We are seeing encouraging signs and the public has been really fantastic and has responded across society to help us reduce the transmission of this virus, but we’re asking for an extra mile to go over the next two weeks to reduce the transmission of this virus in the community.”

Dr Holohan said that attention will turn to the outbreak of the illness in the likes of nursing homes and care facilities.

He said that 20% of cases in the east have been found in nursing homes. However, he said that “there is more we all should be doing” to fight the spread of Covid-19.

“We want to focus on those environments where there are particularly vulnerable people, such as nursing homes.”

Dr Holohan said that it was impossible to say where Ireland is in terms of its response to the virus, but said that there were “encouraging signs”, with the number of average contacts a confirmed case had falling from 20 to just over five.

“We’ve seen an increase that started at 33% per day. It has continued to rise, but maybe not to that rate, maybe half that rate.

We expect to see an increase in the numbers.

“That’s why we’ve put in place the measures we have around schools, around mass gatherings up to the restrictions we announced on Friday. The virus will not survive if we can stop it from being transmitted from one person to another.

“We believe the virus is in the community and our strategy is to drive it out of the community, to make it more of an infection that’s in households, so you’re less likely to encounter it in the community.”

Dr Holohan said that the advice for people who are over 70 or have one of a number of conditions that require “cocooning” was not to go for walks, not to allow non-essential visitors into their homes and to avoid as much contact with people as possible.

    Useful information

  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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