Stephen Donnelly to Consider NPHET Advice on Scrapping Masks

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will consider whether to implement the National Public Health Emergency Team's recommendation that mandatory face-mask wearing can be scrapped.

Last night the government received a letter from NPHET in which the body advised that the country had left the emergency phase of the pandemic and that masks were no longer necessary for most settings.

Donnelly will assess NPHET's recommendations before a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, when a decision will be made over whether to follow the advice to end mandatory mask-wearing in most settings.

Should the Cabinet accept NPHET's advice, mask-wearing would be removed from schools, public transport, retail premises and other indoor settings. It's expected that masks will continue to be a requirement in healthcare settings.

Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said yesterday that he believes masks should be scrapped immediately in light of NPHET's advice.

Anne O'Connor, Chief Operations Officer of the Health Service Executive, sees the lifting of remaining pandemic restrictions as "great news."

"It’s great news that we're moving forwards in terms of the pandemic, and certainly that that optimism that we may be getting towards the end of this from our perspective in terms of our hospitals," she said while stressing that "from a health service perspective, we have to continue to provide all of the range of services that we have provided throughout the past couple of years."

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