'Stay away' from elderly family members this Christmas - warns Dr Tony Holohan

'Stay away' from elderly family members this Christmas - warns Dr Tony Holohan

DR TONY Holohan has warned the Irish public to "stay away" from older family members over Christmas.

Ireland's Chief Medical Officer has warned that the risk of spreading Covid-19 is too great, particularly given the recent rise in case number all over the country over the past few days.

Last night, 764 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed, 284 of which were in Dublin.

Dr Holohan has urged people to cancel their Christmas plans, stressing that "inter-generational" mixing was a very serious concern, especially with families naturally coming together over the festive period.

He warned that those who have been socialising over the past few days and weeks and have failed to restrict their movements since, posed a grave risk to their elderly relatives if they were to meet over Christmas.

"Every indicator of disease severity is moving in the wrong direction, more rapidly than we had anticipated," Dr Holohan said.

"On 11th December, the 7-day incidence rate for people aged 19-44 was 106 per 100,000 population, by yesterday this rate had more than doubled to 217 per 100,000.

"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.

"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."