#Covid-19: Social distancing "could last years", says Holohan
"Nobody is in a position to put a finite period of time..."
Social distancing could remain part of life for years, Dr Tony Holohan has said.
The Chief Medical Officer said this week that a vaccine is not certain and that some form of social distancing measures "could last years" as long as the virus is still prevalent.
He did, however, state that he was hopeful that Ireland would be able to move through the remaining four phases involved in easing the country's lockdown restrictions.
RTÉ News reports that Dr Holohan told yesterday's Covid-19 press briefing that without a vaccine, some level of social distancing is likely to continue into the future.
“Given that we can’t say with certainty that there will be a vaccine and can’t make predictions or projections (...) it could well be the case that we’re living with this virus and adapting to its presence for a long period of time to come," he said.
“Which is why that statement is correct that it could last years. Nobody is in a position to put a finite period of time – nobody in the world over – around when this will be at an end.”
A further 16 Covid-19 deaths were recorded in Ireland yesterday, bringing the total to 1,561.
Speaking to the Dáil later, Dr Holohan added that despite this, Ireland has "effectively extinguished Covid-19" from the community.
He said that although the virus has been suppressed, the public must remain vigilant to ensure it stays that way.
Ireland is currently in Phase One of a five phase plan to reopen the economy.
From Monday of this week, hardware stores and gardening centres reopened, while people were permitted to meet others outdoors in groups of no more than four.
Phase Two is scheduled to begin on June 8.