Tag Archives: Gathering

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory

This morning.

On RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Sarah McInerney...

Further to confusion concerning the risks of  having the same people in the same room for a meeting for over two hours, Dr Cillian De Gascun, Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory, said:

“So I think there are two separate issues which may have become conflated. So firstly, the two-hour is public health guidance around people who are gathered in an enclosed space together in essence.

“So I think the analogy that I would kindly use is…members of the royal family don’t travel together in case something terrible happens and you knock out the whole family together.

So what we’re suggesting from a point of view of public health guidance is that if you’re gathered in a room of people for more than two hours, if one of those individuals subsequently becomes a confirmed case of Covid-19, everybody in that room then, if one of them subsequently becomes a confirmed case of, will be a contact and therefore will have to self-isolate for 14 days or two weeks.

“….so if they’re very senior individuals or if they’re providing a very key role in the organisation, then that key role has to stop for two weeks.

That’s really where the guidance comes from and that’s why in the context of the committee was the idea of not having the Chief Medical Officer, the CEO of the HSE and the Secretary General of the Department of Health all taken out of commission at the same time, should a case be reported in the Dail.

“So what we’re suggesting is that the work day can continue as normal but in order to manage the risk to an organisation is that what you might do, is that people working in groups that can function together would also, if one individual in that group should subsequently become unwell or should become a confirmed case and the rest of the group has to self-isolate as close contacts, that your whole organisation is not impacted by that single case.

So it’s really about having, you know, staggered working hours, perhaps shift work, that people would take breaks at different times but perhaps with the same individuals with whom they’d be working. You wouldn’t have a single individual perhaps like say a management figure who would cross over, across the two or three different shifts of different groups of people because then if that person becomes infected then you lose your whole team.

“So that’s really where the two hours comes from.

“So it’s certainly safe to work with people for more than two hours in the same physical location. But, as I said, we’re trying to minimise the impact of a single case on the running of an organisation.”