Dr Michael McBride said he is “confident” that there could be no more need for such severe restrictins on public life by the late spring.
© Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride speaks to the media at Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, as…
“We have some difficult months ahead of us,” he told the PA news agency yesterday.
“The vaccine will not see us through this winter but I am confident by late spring it will be doing a lot of the heavy lifting and hopefully talk of wider and further restrictions will increasingly become a thing of the past.”
He also inisted, however, that another period of intense lockdown is not inevitable.
“It depends on all of us,” the chief medical officer said.
“There will be a payback for the relaxations over Christmas. But I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s important for our mental health and for our well-being, but we will see increased transmission.
“When we come together, the virus is there and the virus will spread. So we really need to be careful, what we need to do is get the virus down as low before we go into the Christmas period as possible and be really careful over Christmas.”
Dr McBride acknowledged the difficulties the retail and hospitality sectors were facing as a consequence of losing out on two weeks of trade at the busiest time of the year.
“I’m sorry that we are in this situation,” he said.
“I know there’ll be many views about the needs for or not for this restriction.
“But it is making a difference, it is making an impact. I just want to thank everyone, now the executive has made its decision, for all of their efforts.”
Northern Ireland is currently under a two-week period of intense restrictions.
The latest restrictions were imposed following severe criticism about the decision making process at Stormont, when businesses were given little notice they would have to close.
Dr McBride said that situation is unlikely to be repeated when the current period of lockdown is set to come to an end in around a fortnight.
Speaking to UTV, he said: “I’m confident that decisions around what happens after the next two weeks will be made in good time y the Executive and communicated in good time, because it’s important that businesses have early warning, and it’s important that we all know what to do.
“Let’s trust each other, and let’s look out for each other. It’s all very well and very easy to detract from our politicians who are trying to make very difficult decisions.”