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11th Jan 2022

Government set to discuss possibility of easing close contact rules

Stephen Porzio

Changes could be on the way.

The Government is set to discuss the possibility of easing restrictions for close contacts of Covid-19 cases, according to multiple reports.

It has been said that Cabinet is expected to receive updated public health guidance on the matter when it meets on Wednesday (12 January).

Last week, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) updated its guidance regarding isolation for close contacts in response to the rapid spread of Omicron in the European Union.

Though its overall guidance in the area remained unchanged, it said that it was proposing recommendations that can be adapted by EU and EEA Member States when “there is high pressure on healthcare systems and other functions in society,” such as from staff shortages due to Covid.

The options proposed include shorter quarantine periods in these circumstances.

However, the ECDC added that due to limited scientific evidence on the epidemiological characteristics of Omicron, the updated guidance is “not evidence-based”.

In a Twitter post, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar shared the ECDC’s latest proposals, calling them “useful”.

“Gives us some options to consider re close contact rules. Further update next week,” he said on Saturday.

According to reports, it is expected NPHET will consider the updated ECDC guidance when making recommendations to Government.

On Monday, meanwhile, Ireland officially passed the one million mark of confirmed Covid cases in the country.

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