Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer.

Chief medical officers and gardaí urge everyone to stay home

Chief medical officers in Ireland and Northern Ireland have voiced their concerns about the high levels of Covid-19 and are urging everyone to stay home.

Chief medical officers Dr Michael McBride and Dr Tony Holohan said: “As CMOs, we are gravely concerned about the unsustainably high level of Covid-19 infection we are experiencing on the island of Ireland. This is having a significant impact on the health of our population and the safe functioning of our healthcare systems.

“Unfortunately, due to the surge of infections we have experienced over the last few weeks, we have seen an increase in mortality figures and our health systems have been placed under immense pressure.

“We are likely to see ongoing increases in hospitalisations, ICU admissions and mortality in the weeks ahead.”

Both CMOs are strongly urging everyone to stay at home except for essential reasons, and to avoid all unnecessary journeys, including cross-border travel.

They said: “Many of the patients admitted to hospital in January have been under the age of 65 years. Covid-19 can affect us all, regardless of age or underlying condition.

“It highlights the need for us all to protect one another by staying at home. Not only will you keep yourself and your loved ones safe, but also help to save lives and avoid more preventable Covid-19 admissions to our currently struggling healthcare systems.

“We will continue to work together to protect public health across the island, as we have done throughout this pandemic, but we need everyone to play their part by staying at home and protecting themselves and their communities.”

An Garda Síochána appeal

An Garda Síochána has seen broad public support for Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, and the vast majority of people continue to comply with public health guidance.

But we all need to stay the course, a garda spokesperson said today, Friday.

Covid-19 remains a significant threat to society. Covid-19 related deaths are rising. Hospital admissions are increasing. ICU departments are at capacity.

Unfortunately, there is also a minority who are not complying. These people put everybody’s health at risk, which impacts on individuals and our society.

Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Policing and Security, said: “Throughout this pandemic, the vast majority of people have been compliant with public health advice. We thank them for that. We know this hasn’t been easy and has involved great sacrifices.

“However, as we all know, Covid-19 doesn’t relax. It doesn’t take weekends off. We are asking people to remember this as they plan their weekend so they can enjoy it while protecting themselves and others.

“Exercise within 5km of your home. If you are doing this in a place that is getting crowded then leave. Minimise your contacts. Only take essential journeys. Maintain social distancing. Wash your hands.

“When visiting amenities within 5km of your home park legally. Illegal parking can hinder access by emergency services and could put lives at risk. As we saw last weekend, people who illegally park are at risk of having their cars towed and impounded.”

The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No.10) Regulations 2020, as amended, are currently in force. Regulation 4 states, inter alia, ‘an applicable person shall not leave his or her place of residence without reasonable excuse’. This is a Penal Regulation and is enforceable.

An Garda Síochána continue to adopt the approach of 4Es Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce in engaging with the public. However, An Garda Síochána can, and will, issue Fixed Payment Notices for breaches of Covid-19 Public Health regulations where appropriate to do so.

This weekend An Garda Síochána will continue to support the effort against Covid-19 by enforcing the Public Health Regulations and other relevant legislation where appropriate.

Travel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape a risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person. Victims of domestic abuse incidents, including coercive control, will continue to receive highest priority response for service under Operation Faoiseamh.

If you are a victim of abuse or you know of a family member or friend who is a victim of such abuse, that information is important to us and we ask that you make contact with An Garda Síochána. If you require urgent assistance or support, please call 999 or 112, we are there to listen to help and to protect.

If you are unable to make phone contact please approach any member of An Garda Síochána on duty, on patrol, on a checkpoint and look for assistance, we are here to help.

An Garda Síochána is committed to working with our communities to help and support those vulnerable or isolated at this time. If you need help or know someone who does, please contact your local Garda station

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