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NPHET says even after the Level 5 restrictions are lifted, close contacts should be limited

DUBLIN: Public health officials say that people should minimise social interaction, even as the current level 5 restrictions in the country end on 1 December.

The Government implemented level 5 restrictions similar to the lockdown in the month of October. But with the number of COVID-19 cases declining and businesses suffering, the restrictions are likely to be eased by early December.

However, National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) noted that it would consider the specific number of contacts that people would allow, even when restrictions are relaxed.

Chairman of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) Dr. Cillian De Gascun said “No one likes a situation where restrictions increase and decrease and no one benefits from it.”

“The challenge is identifying what that number of close contacts is going to be because we want the R0 to ideally be below one, and the problem is if we’re looking at say, for argument’s sake, three close contacts versus four close contacts, that could flip the balance of an R0 from below one to above one,” Dr. Gascun added.

Meanwhile, he said that there will be no restrictions on the opening of pubs or restaurants when close contact is limited.

“We’ll have to look at what the high-risk settings and low-risk settings are,” he said. It all comes down to wanting to live as much of our life as we can in a safe way while also preventing the cases increasing dramatically as they did in October,” he said.

Mandatory quarantine for people coming from Denmark

The Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said that 14 days quarantine is mandatory for those coming to Ireland from Denmark.

The restriction follows the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Denmark’s mink population.

The Minister has made it clear that Ireland is following the same measures as Northern Ireland did yesterday. Northern Ireland introduced a mandatory 14-day self-isolation on Saturday morning.

“People will have to self-isolate for 14 days no matter what. People coming from Denmark, there isn’t huge numbers, but we are following the health advice, similar to what’s going on in the UK,” Minister Ryan said.

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