NPHET to meet amid concern over virus

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to meet today, amid concern about an increase in cases of Covid-19.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said there were significant indicators that the disease was moving in the wrong direction.

Restrictions on household visits and travel around the country are due to be eased tomorrow.

NPHET meets amid alarm at the situation in Northern Ireland but also increasing concern about case numbers in the Republic.

The Chief Medical Officer said the five-day average number of cases had increased to 339 – up by almost 100 in a week.

Dr Holohan said international experience had shown how quickly the disease could get out of control.

Ireland was in a precarious situation, he said, because of the potential widespread inter-household and inter-generational mixing over Christmas.

He urged people not to give Covid-19 the chance to spread.

Health authorities are appealing to people to limit their contacts, even as restrictions are set to ease further tomorrow when three households will be able to gather indoors.

Despite hopes that vaccination will begin here before the end of the month, people have been warned against premature complacency as the effects on the general population will not be seen until the middle of 2021.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil the Government would be meeting weekly and would not let the numbers go out of control.

The Tánaiste is reported as telling members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party that restrictions on gatherings are likely to stay in place for some months to come.

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