Meet no one outside of your household indoors, Ireland’s chief medical officer has urged, as the country experiences a major surge in Omicron coronavirus infections.
Dr Tony Holohan issued advice in the wake of Christmas, after new infections on Christmas Eve topped those seen a year previously as cases surged in January 2021. Infections on Christmas Day then brought another new record, with 13,765 reported.
Dr Holohan appealed to people to avoid crowded places, including retailers, and to leave any shop that did not feel safe and where public health advice was not being followed.
“It is important that all of us continue to reduce our contacts and avoid crowded places, to the greatest extent possible, as we see the Omicron variant become the dominant variant of Covid-19 in Ireland,” he said.
“We know that this variant is more transmissible than even the highly transmissible Delta variant. As such, please do not socialise or meet indoors with people from other households.
“Avoid crowded places including retail environments. Choose to shop online where possible, queue outside and leave any retail environment that does not feel safe and that is not adhering to the public health guidance – implementing social distancing measures and queueing system, limiting numbers in-store and staff wearing masks correctly (covering nose, mouth and chin).”
Dr Holohan urged anyone yet to receive a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to “take every measure you can to protect yourself until you are eligible to receive it.”
“This includes avoiding risky environments and keeping your contacts as low as possible. All of the available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will offer good protection against infection with the Omicron variant,” he said.
The chief medical officer also reminded anyone who has travelled to Ireland from overseas to take an antigen test every day for five days.
He urged anyone experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, to self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.
“Our test centres are very busy at the moment due to the high incidence of Covid-19 across the country; however, it is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive the result of your PCR test and further information from the HSE,” he said.