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03 Dec 2021

'Even halving social activity - going to pub once a week instead of twice will have big impact on Covid levels’ says Limerick-based health chief

Almost 3  out of 4 regular pub-goers plan to return to local during first month of re-opening

THE director of Public Health Mid-West is again encouraging people to limit their social activity and social contacts over the coming weeks to help reduce the incidence of Covid-19 in the community.

Speaking this Friday morning, Dr Mai Mannix said: “If we even half our social activity - go to the pub once a week instead of twice a week - if we all collectively do a little, it will have a big impact at a population level”.

Infection rates have doubled in the Mid-West in the past four to five weeks, similar to levels experienced during the January wave.

“Between October 27 and November 10 we’ve had over 3,500 cases,” said Dr Mannix on RTE’s Morning Ireland.

The Government is coming under increased pressure to issue a new ‘work from home’ message after NPHET issued fresh advice to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly last night.

It comes as health officials reported that a 14-year-old had died with Covid-19 in the past week, the youngest person in Ireland to die from the virus to date.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is urging people to work from home where possible in a bid to get “dangerously high” Covid-19 case numbers under control.

Morning Ireland presenter Mary Wilson asked Dr Mannix if she is worried that in the lead up to Christmas more pronounced action may need to be taken.

Dr Mannix replied: “I think we have to take the actions that would prevent us from getting to that point. That decision will be taken by Government on NPHET’s recommendation, if that were to happen. We hope we won’t get there. I think we have to focus on what we can actually achieve.”

In relation to NPHET asking the Government to "consider reinstating previous advice to work from home where possible", Dr Mannix said: “NPHET has issued the advice about working from home. Government will take a decision on that. We would support that.”

Dr Mannix reiterated key messages about what people can do at the moment to prevent the spread of the virus.

 “Obviously people need to get vaccinated and it’s very important that people go for their booster at this time - this is the best protection we can have against hospitalisation and serious disease. Sixty five per cent of those in ICU are unvaccinated. It’s really important that people wear masks if they are at work, we found that practice has dropped a bit,” she pointed out.

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