Nphet recommend easing of face mask rules

Nphet Recommend Easing Of Face Mask Rules
Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan will now convey Nphet's recommendations to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly. Photo: PA Images
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Muireann Duffy

Updated: 5pm

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) is to propose changes to current face mask requirements following a meeting of the group earlier today.


According to The Irish Times, it is understood Nphet agreed face coverings should only be required in healthcare settings, meaning they will no longer be obligatory in schools and retail settings, or on public transport.

The group is also thought to have given the green-light for a radical shake up of the testing system. The changes will see a focus on over 55s, those who are medically vulnerable, and people who live with people in those categories.

People in other circumstances will be advised to self-isolate if they display Covid symptoms, remaining in isolation until the symptoms subside. Close contacts will not have to seek a test, although it is understood that those who are unvaccinated or unboosted will be directed to do so.

It is expected the Government will accept the advice, with the changes likely to take effect at the end of the month.



Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan also thanked Nphet's members, with reports stating today's meeting may be the last in the group's current form.

As the country moves from a Covid-19 state of emergency, it is thought the Government's approach will become more normalised.

Dr Holohan will now convey the group's recommendations to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly who will bring the advice to Cabinet.

The recommendations come as 9,441 new cases of the virus were logged on Thursday.

The Department of Health said 5,035 cases were confirmed by a PCR test, while a further 4,406 cases were from positive antigen test results uploaded via the HSE's online portal.

This morning, there were 639 patients hospitalised with the virus, of which 58 were in ICU.

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