There has been a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Ireland. The Tánaiste (Deputy head of the Irish Government), Leo Varadkar has announced the government is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time in the day.
It is reported that people are congregating in public breaking restrictions and consuming takeaway alcohol.
Dr. Tony Holohan, the Irish Chief Medical Officer, admitted that alcohol has helped play a role in the spread of COVID-19 and welcomes any measure to reduce alcohol consumption.
Any measures that would help in terms of the reduction of our consumption of alcohol in the context of this infection would be very, very welcome,” said Dr. Tony Holohan the Irish Chief Medical Officer, as per the Irish Mirror.
Anything that can be done to address the role alcohol may be playing in terms of creating the social opportunities, the dropping of the guard that we all need to keep up, anything to address that would be welcome.”Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Ireland
The World Health Organization (WHO) details the risks of alcohol consumption during COVID-19 in a set of FAQs published by their WHO European Regional Office.
Limiting alcohol availability is recommended by the World Health Organization during COVID-19 lockdowns. Alcohol use undermines COVID-19 preventive measures such as physical distancing and protective mask wearing. In addition, reasons for reducing alcohol availability during the pandemic include:
- Alcohol weakens the immune system making people more susceptible to infections such as coronavirus.
- Alcohol is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are known to lead to more severe progression of coronavirus infection and increase risk of death from COVID-19.
- Alcohol-related diseases, injuries and accidents place avoidable strain on the healthcare system and emergency services which are at capacity due to the pandemic.