Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has told an Oireachtas committee that the government hopes to impose only the “minimum additional restrictions” needed to keep Covid-19 suppressed after Level 5 is lifted in Ireland.
The minister told the committee that the causes of the rise in cases recently were “congregation and alcohol” at house parties and during and after sports events.
“A lot of the time it was people who had followed it to the letter for seven months and then said ‘For the love of God, I just need to let loose this once’ and who then let go for one night,” the minister said.
Hopes for a half-normal Christmas have been raised by Stephen Donnelly’s report to the committee. The important R number, the average number of people that an infected person goes on to infect, now stands at somewhere between 0.7 and 0.9. So, below the important figure of 1. We still have a way to go though. NPHET recommends that we get that R number down to 0.5 or below. Only then will we see daily cases go significantly below 100. That key number of 100 daily cases will allow some leeway for all of us, especially those of us living in the teeming capital city, to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.
Mr Donnelly said that this can only happen if we “all follow the basics”.