Covid: 5,919 new cases on ‘milestone’ day as mask-wearing rules end

Covid: 5,919 New Cases On ‘Milestone’ Day As Mask-Wearing Rules End
The vast majority of Covid-19 restrictions lifted at midnight. Photo: PA Images
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Dominic McGrath, PA

Updated: 3.30pm

The vast majority of Covid-19 restrictions lifted at midnight in a move hailed as a “milestone” for the country.


The changes come as 5,919 new cases of the virus were reported to the Department of Health on Monday.

A statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) said 2,277 cases had been confirmed by PCR tests, while a further 3,642 cases were uploaded to the HSE's antigen result portal. The statement also included case numbers for the weekend, which totalled 6,783 (3,635 PCR-confirmed) and 5,157 (2,338 PCR-confirmed) on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

As of 8am on Monday, there were 610 patients in hospital with the virus, 47 of whom were in ICU.

The Government decided last week, following advice from health officials, that from February 28th there will be no legal requirement to wear a mask in any setting.


However, people are still advised to wear masks on public transport and in healthcare settings.

The requirement for pods, staggered breaks, masks and physical distancing in schools has also ended.



Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it was another “milestone” moment in the country’s journey out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He wished businesses in particular the “best of luck” with the changes.


“It’s a big day for many businesses and workers as economic life begins to return to normal,” Mr Varadkar said.

“Staff and customers who want to continue to wear a mask should of course continue to do so. We know that many people will be nervous about this latest step in our journey with Covid, especially the medically vulnerable.

“For those commuting today, you are not legally required to wear a mask on public transport anymore, however we are still recommending that you do.”

Health officials had recommended the major shift in Covid-19 rules following a meeting of Nphet, however, politicians and health advisers have insisted these changes do not mean that the pandemic is officially over.


“The rules on close contacts are also changing today,” Mr Varadkar confirmed.

“If you have no symptoms, you do not need to test or isolate and can continue on your business and go to work as normal. This is the case regardless of your vaccination status. The only exception is for healthcare workers who have a confirmed case in their home, they will need to take antigen tests and follow different guidance.”

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