Taoiseach confirms NPHET to be stood down and mask rules to be eased
Rules around mask wearing are expected to relax very soon.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is to be stood down and that rules surrounding mask-wearing are to be eased, according to reports.
On Thursday, the public health team recommended to Government in a letter it be disbanded, along with an end to mandatory mask wearing in most settings in Ireland on 28 February.
Under its advice, face coverings would still be needed in healthcare settings and the public would be advised to continue to wear masks on public transport.
According to multiple reports, the Taoiseach while speaking in Belgium on Friday (18 February) confirmed that he has spoken to the party leaders and that the Government will be accepting the advice of NPHET in its entirety.
It is stated the Taoiseach revealed that Ireland is moving from the emergency phase of the Covid-19 pandemic into a transitionary phase and that though people may feel more comfortable wearing face coverings, they will no longer be mandatory.
Martin is also reported to have said he will pay tribute to NPHET and thank all the members of the public health team for the work throughout the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has on Friday been notified of 4,821 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid.
In addition, on Thursday, 3,772 people registered a positive antigen test for the virus through the HSE portal.
As of 8am on Friday, 591 Covid patients are hospitalised, of which 57 are in intensive care units.
Main image via Julien Behal Photography / RollingNews.ie