DOCTORS in Ireland have warned that the upcoming Easter weekend could spark mass spreading of coronavirus if people are complacent and flout distancing and movement restrictions.
They've suggested the potential impact could be similar to what happened with the Cheltenham Festival, which controversially went ahead on March 10-13 despite lockdown procedures being discussed by government at the time, and after most other major sporting events and mass gatherings had been cancelled or postponed.
An estimated 250,000 people gathered at the racecourse over a three-day period, no doubt spreading Covid-19 as the virus began accelerating through Britain.
Dr Paddy Mallon described holding the festival as "one of the seminal" events that led to wider spread of coronavirus in the UK, and stressed that Ireland could not afford to risk the same thing.
He estimated that if people continue to rigorously obey lockdown restrictions, "we could be seeing a drop off" in cases by next week.
"If everyone sticks with the plan, the flood [of cases] could be halted," added Dr Mallon.
"Treat this the same as every other weekend.
"Stay home, eat chocolate and next week we could be seeing good news."
His message is simple: resist the urge to bask in the sun and escape the house this weekend, and we could all be enjoying a delightful Covid-free summer in just a few weeks' time. But flout the rules, be irresponsible and you're not only likely to extend lockdown, you're endangering lives, too.
As Dr Mallon says, there's plenty of chocolate for us to enjoy at home. Stay inside. Stay safe.