‘Avoid crowded places, including retail environments,’ urges chief medical officer as country sees surge in Covid cases

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is urging people to reduce contact and avoid crowded places as we prepare to see sales open after Christmas.

The Chief Medical Officer said: “It is important that we all continue to reduce contact and avoid crowded places where possible as we see the Omicron variant becoming the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Ireland.

“We know that this variant is more transmissible than even the highly transmissible Delta variant. As such, please do not socialize or meet indoors with people from other households.

“Avoid crowded places, including retail environments. Choose to shop online whenever possible, queue outside, and leave any retail environment that does not feel safe and that does not follow public health guidelines – implementing social distancing measures and a queuing system, limiting numbers in store and staff wearing masks properly (covering nose, mouth and chin).

“If you have not yet received a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, you should take all possible steps to protect yourself until you are eligible to receive it. This includes avoiding risky environments and to limit your contacts as much as possible. All available evidence indicates that a booster vaccine will provide good protection against infection with the Omicron variant.”

If you have traveled to Ireland from abroad, it is important that you have an antigen test every day for five days.

If anyone has any symptoms of Covid-19, however mild, it is important to self-isolate and arrange for a PCR test. Testing centers are very busy at the moment due to the high incidence of Covid-19 across the country; however, it is important that you continue to self-isolate until you receive your PCR test result and other information from the HSE.