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Health officials warned people not to lose vigilance even as the country returned to Level 3 restrictions

DUBLIN: The department of health reminds the people of Ireland to adhere to public health guidelines, even if the Level 5 restrictions are lifted. Health officials urge the public to stay safe and keep their contacts to a minimum.

The country returned to Level 3 restrictions last Tuesday. Gastropubs, restaurants, non-essential retail, hairdressers and museums have reopened. Gatherings of up to 15 people can now take place outdoors and groups of up to six can meet indoors in restaurants. But household visits and inter-county travel are still not permitted.

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has warned that increasing the number of social gatherings could increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

The report advices people to create small “social bubbles” before and during the festive season. “Gatherings only with members of the same household pose the lowest risk of transmission,” it says. The European agency says people should only engage in important travel and social activities.

Deputy CMO Dr. Ronan Glynn advised anyone socialising this weekend to make every effort to keep safe. “Plan ahead, meet outside where possible and keep your contacts to a minimum. Avoid crowded or poorly ventilated spaces and leave if your environment doesn’t feel safe,” he said last night,” he said.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has urged to the public not to think that the virus is no longer a threat as news came this week that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the UK. “There are risks to all of this, and so personal behaviour is very important. I would join with the CMO and others in stressing to people the need to adhere to protocols and act as if you have the virus and that you don’t wish to spread it,” Taoiseach said.

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