Professor Philip Nolan, chair of Nphet's Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, has called on the public not to “slip’ in their behaviour and to “hold on” for a few more weeks to keep the coronavirus suppressed.
There were worrying signs of “slippage” and this could have an impact on the spread of the virus, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
“We’ve seen this before, we see the level of slippage. We get tired, we get lonely, mix a little bit more.”
The plea to the public, if they were slipping, was to “pull back” and help keep the virus suppressed, he added.
“In the grand scheme of things, it’s a few more weeks.”
Prof Nolan said that the impact of the disease remained high, the situation was precarious and at a delicate point. This was not the time to relax in any way that would impact on public health measures, he warned.
“This is the time to stay home, this is not the time for mixing households or going back to the workplace unless it is essential work.”
There was a need to stick with the vaccination programme and the Government had the right set of parameters involving a range of metrics — lowering of the reproduction number, the status of the vaccination programme and the situation in hospitals. “We’re not there yet.”
The vast majority of citizens had made “extraordinary sacrifices”. There had been 52 weeks “of this, people had had to manage grief on their own, but the worry was that “if we rush” the virus would not be suppressed. “In 10 weeks we will be in a different scenario.”
“People needed to maintain their guard against infection and not squander the sacrifices that have been made.”
As more people were vaccinated, there would be more that people could do, but he warned that there would be some activities that would have to wait until there was population-wide protection.