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22nd Dec 2021

Only meet people you’ll spend Christmas Day with this week, says CMO

“Keep your contacts as low as possible in order to protect those around you.”

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan has urged the public to try and only meet people this week who they will spend Christmas Day with.

The CMO made the comment as 5,279 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland.

As of 8am on Tuesday (21 December), 443 patients with the virus are hospitalised, of which 102 are in intensive care units.

In a statement accompanying the figures, Holohan said Ireland continues to see Covid-19 incidence rising in its young adult population.

On account of this, he urged all parents, guardians and extended friends and family to “support” the young people in their lives to reduce their contacts.

“I know that this is not an easy task for any of us and it can feel very unfair that we continue to ask so much of our young people, particularly at this special time of year,” the CMO said.

“This group have made significant sacrifices in order to protect loved ones and I would like to thank them for that.

“It is important now that we continue to encourage and support each other to make sacrifices, take responsible actions and continue to follow the public health advice.

“This week, try and only meet with the people with whom you will spend Christmas Day. Keep your contacts as low as possible in order to protect those around you.”

The CMO also said it was important to remember that approximately one in six young adults are yet to come forward for vaccination or are not fully vaccinated.

“Vaccination offers very good protection against severe illness, so it is important that everyone who is eligible for a vaccine comes forward for one,” he added.

“If you display any symptoms of Covid-19 then you must self-isolate straight away and arrange a test. This is the single most important piece of basic public health advice.

“Do not meet up with others and put them at risk of Covid-19 or another respiratory infection. Do not rely on a negative antigen test as a basis for not isolating.”

The CMO also stated that the Omicron strain of the virus now accounts for about two-thirds of confirmed Covid cases in Ireland.

“Public health teams are reporting a higher level of infection among household close contacts as a result of Omicron infection,” he added.

“If there is one positive test, whether from a PCR or an antigen test, within a group such as a household then there is a significant chance that others are already infected, even if not yet testing positive.

“If one person from a household tests positive prior to an event or gathering, then none should attend.”

Main image via Sam Boal /