Parents should not bring their children indoor dining and stay outdoors instead, according to the Chief Medical Officer.
The Government is currently pushing through legislation which would allow parents to bring their unvaccinated children for indoor dining.
Speaking this evening, Dr Tony Holohan said that even though it is “possible” for unvaccinated children to be brought indoors, that Delta transmission can still happen in children.
“For now, to parents of young children- it’s safer not to bring your children in to indoor dining and other facilities, even though those kinds of things would be possible,” Dr Holohan said.
He said that parents can either dine outdoors with their children or wait until more people are vaccinated.
“If you’re a parent of young children and you’re anxious to go out for a meal its better to do that outdoors rather than indoors or to put that off until such a point as where we believe we’ve gotten to a higher point of population vaccination,” he told Independent.ie.
He also said that the 1 hour and 45 minute limit for tables less than 2m apart inside in restaurants is not as “relevant” now as indoor dining would be provided only to vaccinated people.
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Assistant General Secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan told the Oireachtas Transport Committee yesterday that the 105 minute limit was kept for tables less than 2m apart because young staff and children would not be vaccinated.
Dr Holohan said that Nphet made recommendations for this time limit last summer, when indoor hospitality was reopening at first – and that at the time, vaccinations were not an option.
“We think that may be some of the guidance in that situation may not have the same relevance as it would have where a population would be entirely differentiated, in other words, a mixed population of vaccinated and unvaccinated people,” he said.
“We would have given advice last year in relation to the 1hr and 45 mins and other measures on the basis that this time last year, when we were reopening hospitality – there was no vaccination every person you were encountering was potentially a risk of transmission.”
Dr Holohan added that staff in the hospitality sector which may not be vaccinated yet are protected because public health measures, such as the wearing of masks, are in place for staff and they are serving a largely vaccinated clientele.
The CMO said that people who are not fully vaccinated should be cautious when it comes to international travel.
He said that people should wait until they have both doses and until sufficient time has passed until they can engage in social activities.
Dr Cillian de Gascun also said that there is no “inevitability” that this winter will not be “terrible”, however, measures like mask wearing and social distancing can help to combat coronavirus as well as other viruses.
“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen this winter. There’s no inevitability that this winter won’t be terrible. There’s always pressure on our hospitals that time of year,” he said.
This evening’s Nphet briefing featured data on the spread of the virus abroad, including a climb of 500pc in case numbers in the Netherlands.
Dr Holohan said that Nphet is not discouraging fully vaccinated people from travelling abroad but that people who are not yet fully vaccinated should be cautious and that Nphet’s message is “for people who are not vaccinated”.
“Your vaccine is coming,” said Dr Holohan, before adding that people should wait until they are vaccinated until they engage in “dangerous environments”.
The total number of Delta cases in Ireland is now 866.
The median age of today’s cases, 783, is 23.
Nphet also said that 8.4pc of all new cases are travel related.
There is also evidence that symptoms of Delta have changed and that public health doctors around the country are reporting that a sore throat, headache and nasal symptoms may be symptoms of the virus.
Dr Ronan Glynn encouraged those with any symptoms at all to get a test and to not delay.