Tony Holohan: Measures to reduce consumption of alcohol during Covid-19 crisis are “very, very welcome”
“When you’ve had one or two, maybe you just don’t keep up the kind of standards of behaviour that we’re advising as well as you should.”
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan has said that he supports any measures that reduce the consumption of alcohol in Ireland as the Covid-19 crisis continues to escalate.
At a press briefing on Thursday evening, Holohan was asked about suggestions by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that the sale of alcohol could be banned after a certain time of day.
It is one of a number of measures being considered by the government as part of public health regulations in relation to the sale and consumption of alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Holohan said that any measures that would help reduce consumption of alcohol in Ireland in the context of the pandemic would be “very, very welcome”, saying that it has played a significant role in creating circumstances in which the virus can spread.
“Alcohol has played a significant role in creating circumstances in which, let’s say, all of our individual behaviours – I’m sure any one of us who likes a pint or a glass of wine knows this – when you’ve had one or two, maybe you just don’t... keep up the kind of standards of behaviour that we’re advising as well as you should,” Holohan said.
“I’ve said it on a number of occasions before, this virus loves alcohol, that is a concern for us,” Holohan added.
“The way in which we have consumed and our pattern of use of alcohol in this country has been a challenge.
“As somebody who was involved in the work on the Public Health Alcohol Bill for nine years, I understand how difficult it is to bring about change in this area.
“But anything that can be done to address the role that alcohol may be playing in creating, if you like, the kind of social opportunities, the dropping of the guard, that we all have to keep up, anything we can do to address that would be welcome and… there’s nothing to stop the public taking on board that message.”
Holohan was speaking after 6,521 new cases of Covid-19 and 10 further deaths were reported in Ireland on Thursday.
At the same press briefing, Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group, said that there are some early signs that safety measures introduced after Christmas are now having a positive impact, but added that there is a “considerable way to go”.