DR TONY HOLOHAN has urged everyone in Ireland with plans to get the family together over Christmas to cancel them amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.
The latest figures from the Department of Health show a worrying increase in the spread of the virus, with 764 testing positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.
With families set to mix in just a few days for Christmas, Ireland's Chief Medical Officer has suggested that the safest thing for people to do is to cancel any plans of a family meet-up.
He described doing so as "an exceptional sacrifice made for the common good".
"Every indicator of disease severity is moving in the wrong direction, more rapidly than we had anticipated," Dr Holohan said.
The NPHET chief expressed particularly concerned about "inter-generational mixing" over the next few days.
"If these younger people come into contact with their loved ones over the age of 65, we could see a spike in infections in this more vulnerable group.
"This would lead to a very serious pattern of disease, hospitalisations, ICU admissions and unnecessary deaths."
He urged anyone who has been socialising in the past few days and weeks, not to meet up with their families over the festive period.
"Is it responsible to meet with your family over 65 later this week, if you have not kept your contacts low? Should you cancel your plans?
"We have the very real prospect of Covid-19 vaccines on the horizon. Ensure that your loved ones stay alive to receive them, by keeping your distance from them if you have not restricted your movements to this point.
"As difficult as it may seem, staying away from older family this Christmas will protect them - and it would be an exceptional sacrifice made for the common good."