HSE warns reopening of indoor dining on 5 July could lead to "superspreader events"
“There is an inherent risk in people dining and drinking in close quarters. When indoors, that risk is even higher."
A Health Service Executive (HSE) doctor has warned that the proposed reopening of indoor dining on 5 July could lead to "superspreader events".
According to the HSE’s director of public health for the South East Dr Carmel Mullaney a move to indoor hospitality could increase the "inherent risk" of an increase in Covid-19 infections amid concerns over the Delta variant.
"Often when we see a large spike in cases, like we've seen in Waterford recently, the origin is an event sometimes called a superspreader event where you see a large number of people being infected in one setting in one day," she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show on Monday.
Dr Mullaney added that there is an "inherent risk" to people dining in groups both indoors and outdoors. Saying: "when we move indoors, that risk is even higher."
She said that the risk of these superspreader events such as the one in Waterford increase when people dine indoors as alcohol is involved and people sometimes "push tables together" and engage socially with other groups of people.
“Certainly from the point of view of a public health doctor, we'd be apprehensive about indoor hospitality,” she continued.
Dr Mullaney said that she would like to see a larger percentage of the population vaccinated before reopening, adding that half of the population is still unvaccinated with a portion of those in their sixties not fully vaccinated yet either.