THE PROSPECT of Ireland going back into lockdown just after New Year is far from guaranteed, according to HSE chief executive Paul Reid.
With the country set to open again ahead of Christmas, a spike in Covid-19 cases is expected across the board, and many health experts have warned that yet another lockdown might be needed in order to set things right on the other side of the festive period.
But speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Friday, Mr Reid insisted that while a surge in cases was a "legitimate concern," a third lockdown was far from a sure thing.
"This is in our hands, we can made this a safe Christmas," Reid said, before stressing that of the public works hand-in-hand with authorities on Covid-safety, then a lockdown in January doesn't need to happen.
"People deserve a break. I would ask people to work with us," he said.
"We're in a strong position going in [to the Christmas period]," adding that Ireland's viral situation was currently among the best in Europe.
He went on to say that it was the behaviour of the public that has put Ireland in such a good position, and hopes that can continue to allow for a safe Christmas, and beyond.
This evening, the Government is expected to announce details of Ireland's lockdown exit plan, which will give the public a clear oversight into what Christmas, and the weeks preceding it will actually look like.