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Coronavirus: I wasn't overruled on cocooning of elderly, maintains Ireland's chief medical officer

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Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

Dr Tony Holohan

The Republic's chief medical officer has denied claims he was overruled by the Irish government on a key aspect of the country's coronavirus recovery plan.

Dr Tony Holohan said reports that the cabinet had rejected National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advice on the extended cocooning of older people was not true.

Dr Holohan, who chairs the NPHET, also refuted suggestions of tensions between him and ministers.

The senior medic was pressed on media reports claiming he and certain ministers were at odds on elements of the five-phase recovery plan published by the Irish state on Friday.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

Dr Holohan was pressed why a proposed NPHET plan, presented to Cabinet on Friday, stated that shielding of over-70s should continue into the later phases, while the final government roadmap made no such specific reference.

The chief medical officer said there were textual differences in the two documents, but he insisted the Irish government had accepted all NPHET's advice on cocooning.

He told the daily Covid-19 briefing the notion NPHET had given advice to the government on cocooning and that advice had been rejected "isn't true".

Dr Holohan also acknowledged that NPHET's advice in relation to the recovery plan was "conservative and cautious".

Earlier, Tanaiste Simon Coveney also rejected claims of tensions between NPHET and the cabinet, telling RTE the relationship was "fantastic".

Dr Holohan said he was confused by reports that suggested that NPHET's briefing to the cabinet on Friday has been fractious.

"That's not the meeting I was at," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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