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16th Feb 2022

NPHET may advise changes to mask wearing rules, Taoiseach suggests

Stephen Porzio

NPHET will meet on Thursday with the topic of masks expected to be discussed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has suggested that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) may advise changes to mask wearing rules, according to reports.

The public health team will meet on Thursday (17 February) where current rules surrounding face coverings are expected to be discussed.

As it stands, masks must be worn on public transport and in shops under law, with those who breach these requirements able to be fined.

However, speaking at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party on Wednesday, the Taoiseach said that Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan is considering the topic of face coverings, multiple reports state.

Martin is reported to have told TDs and Senators that NPHET may draw a distinction between mandatory mask wearing by law and public health advice generally.

Multiple reports also state that the Taoiseach is understood to have given a positive assessment of Ireland’s current Covid-19 situation.

It comes as the Health Protection Surveillance Centre on Wednesday was notified of 5,268 PCR-confirmed cases of the virus.

In addition, on Tuesday, 4,613 people registered a positive Covid antigen test through the HSE portal.

As of 8am on Wednesday, 631 patients with the virus are hospitalised, of which 62 are in intensive care units.

Main image via Julien Behal Photography /

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