NPHET meeting to consider a return to a full work-from-home policy 2 months ago

NPHET meeting to consider a return to a full work-from-home policy

Public health officials are meeting today.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is meeting on Thursday (11 November), with public health officials set to consider a possible return to a full work-from-home policy.

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It comes as Covid-19 figures have risen in recent weeks and 2,975 new confirmed cases of the virus were reported on Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly called for the public to "reduce their discretionary social contacts, just for a while".

Last week, it was reported that the Department of Health told its staff to work from home where possible indefinitely, a change from up until recently when they could attend the office once a week.

As a result of this, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan was asked during a briefing on Wednesday if there was any alterations to the advice for the wider population in regards to work attendance.

"We have... another meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team tomorrow and we will be, as we do on an ongoing basis, considering are there additional or further measures that we might recommend across the board," the CMO explained.

"And I'm sure among the considerations we have will be that."

On the Department of Health's decision, Holohan said: "This department has taken that leadership step in leading by example to say 'Look, we think that it's appropriate and safer for us to reinstate our working from home policy fully'."

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However, the CMO also stated during the briefing that NPHET was not currently considering recommending another lockdown despite the high level of Covid circulation, due to Ireland's "very high" levels of vaccination.

Asked about the possibility of reintroducing restrictions, he said: "Restrictions, if we think they're needed, will always be something that we'll give contemplation to and if we think they have a role to play in whatever form.

"The word 'restrictions' is a broad word. If, by that, you mean the closure of economic and social activities, the closure of certain sectors or segments of society, nobody is ruling out things like that anywhere.

"But at the same time, no one has an expectation that we're going to go back into that kind of environment.

"We're not planning and contemplating on that basis at this point in time."

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Main image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie