As reported by Nova.ie yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar warned people not to book flights to come home for Christmas “at the moment” as there still exists some uncertainty about the effects of the pandemic in Ireland.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan went a whole lot further yesterday evening. Dr Holohan said a flat no to any travel into Ireland over the holiday season. At last night’s NPHET briefing, the public health don said, “Travel that would normally happen at Christmas would have to be regarded as non-essential this Christmas.”
Even on compassionate grounds, the CMO said that travel was banned. Given the example of a grandchild visiting grandparents for the first time in a long time, Dr Holohan stood firm. That would be non-essential travel, so no way, José.
With most European countries experiencing surges in Covid-19 infections at the moment, the CMO warned that the reimportation of the virus would be one of the biggest issues facing the country over the Christmas period. Leave the deccies under the stairs for now. The good doctor advised that “things are going to be different this Christmas” and it was “too early” for people to be making plans for the party season.
And forget those parties altogether as Dr Tony says that office parties and big family gatherings “are not going to be possible” this year. Look on the bright side, you can buy a smaller turkey this Christmas.
At the press conference last night, public health officials announced another 395 new cases and one further death due to the coronavirus. NPHET will meet on November 26th to decide what restrictions will be lifted or put in place for December. We’re halfway through the 6 week Level 5 lockdown and all the figures are going in the right direction, NPHET says. The health experts cautioned vigilance, however, warning that we are “only halfway down the curve”.