Short window to turn around rising infection rates, warns Glynn

Ireland only has a short time to turn around a recent upturn in infection figures, the deputy chief medical officer has warned.

he country is due to emerge from level five lockdown at the start of December.

The aim of the six-week restrictions was to push Ireland’s infection rate below 100 cases a day.

On Monday, 456 new cases were confirmed, with the five-day rolling average of infections above 400 and continuing to rise.

Another five deaths were announced on Monday.

Dr Ronan Glynn said members of the National Public Health Emergency Team were  concerned with the figures in recent days.

“Unfortunately the very positive trajectory that we have been reporting in recent weeks has at best stalled and, in fact, according to a number of indicators, is now deteriorating,” he said.

“And we really have a short period of time in which to turn this around. And we’ve two weeks to go before December 1.”

Outbreaks linked to funerals and workplaces have been cited as contributory factors in the recent increase in cases.

Dr Glynn said a potential link to social activities around Halloween could not be ruled out.

The deputy chief medical officer expressed concern that people were becoming overly fixated on what restrictions would be in place at Christmas.

He said this was distracting the focus from the need to comply with public health rules in the here and now.

“If we keep focusing on three and four and five weeks’ time, we take our eye off what we need to be doing today,” he said.


Dublin is in the middle of a six week lockdown (Brian Lawless/PA)

He added: “We have no idea of where we will be in two weeks’ time at this point – it could get much better, it could get much worse.

“What dictates that is what people do today, tomorrow, the next day.

“We won’t see the outcome of those interactions for about 10 days.”

Dr Glynn again urged people to comply with the advice against non-essential travel, and not book trips home to Ireland for Christmas.

“If the efforts and the willingness of people to listen to that advice over the duration of the pandemic to date is reflected in what people do at Christmas time, then I’m confident that most people will listen to that advice and for this year will not come home,” he said.

He said recent news about the development of successful vaccines provided cause for hope but he cautioned that it was important to wait on all the data.

He also expressed concern about those actively campaigning against vaccinations with disinformation.

PA Media

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