From circuit breakers to Halloween, here are some of the key messages from this evening's briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team on the Covid-19 situation in Ireland.

No normal Halloween

Asked what people could expect at Halloween this year, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said clearly it will not be a normal Halloween.

He said public health officials want to stop people gathering, and children and families should not move between houses trick-or-treating in the way that normally happens at Halloween.

Take personal responsibilty

Dr Holohan emphasised the importance of personal responsibility in suppressing Covid-19.

He said that the Government can provide support, and can set out the rules, but that it is up to individuals to follow them.

He said the Government isn't going to wash your hands for you or put your mask on properly for you, and people have to take responsibilty for themselves.

The CMO said there is now widespread community transmission across the country, and that people have to act as though they have the virus, and not assume that public health guidance applies to other people and not themselves.

Wear a mask, not a visor

Asked if NPHET would recommend that people wear face coverings outdoors, as has happened in other countries recently, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that public health officials would continue to monitor the evidence on masks outdoors and could make such a recommendation in the future.

However, he said that the focus at the moment is on getting people to wear masks properly.

He said too many people are still leaving their mouths or noses uncovered, or walking around with their face coverings hanging under their chins.

On visors, Dr Glynn said they are an acceptable alternative for a very small number of people who cannot wear face coverings, but that "the vast majority of people should be wearing masks".

Border concerns

Asked about the high rate of infection in Northern Ireland and potential implications for border counties, Dr Holohan said Northern Ireland is seeing some of the highest rates of infection in Europe, if not the world,

However, he said the virus does not respect borders, and it moves from person to person.

The concern is people moving between areas of high infection, regardless of borders, he said. 

Work from home if possible

Dr Holohan said he is increasingly concerned about the number of people who are returning to workplaces who were working from home at earlier stages of the pandemic.

He said people should work from home as much as possible.

He also expressed concern about the number of social gatherings, saying now is not the time for house parties, birthday parties or play dates.

Circuit breakers

Dr Holohan says that NPHET did not recommend a 'circuit break' lockdown, and that that is not a term you would hear him using.

He said NPHET advocated a move to Level 5 of the Government's Living With Covid plan, but that the Government, taking wider considerations into account, opted for Level 3.

He says it would not have made sense for NPHET to then recommend a move to Level 5 again days later, when the measures the Government had just announced would not have had any impact in the figures.

However, despite the Government making clear it did not wish to "skip" levels in its graduated plan, Dr Holohan did not rule out recommending a move up more than one level in future.

The spirit of the rules

Dr Holohan was asked to respond to the idea that a couple could organise a wedding with 25 people in one room and 25 in another separated by a partition, which could be opened for the speeches.

The CMO said that people should not be looking for ways to get around the rules, and should comply with the spirit of the rules and not just the letter.