Digital Desk Staff
Taoiseach, Micheál Martin says he believes masks should continue to be worn even if the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) recommends they no longer need to be mandatory.
Speaking in France, he said a meeting on the few remaining Covid restrictions would be held in the coming weeks, with discussion to focus on the removal of mask mandates and other restrictions.
As the Irish Examiner reports, he said the meeting will be held “just to try and take stock of the situation” and to “map out the situation for the remainder of the year”.
Mr Martin said he has spoken to his fellow leaders at the One Ocean Summit and that they and the World Health Organization have been pleased with the progress being made in fighting the virus.
He said the numbers and news in Ireland are “positive” but said that vigilance is needed.
He said Nphet will be meeting on the issue before the end of the month, but he believes in wearing masks where possible.
Masks in retail
Mr Martin said that while Omicron has proved to be less serious, this may not be the case for all variants.
“Irrespective of whether it is mandated or not, I would recommend that people would wear masks in retail and public transport for some time yet. But the news is good in respect of the Omicron variant.
“We have to be mindful of other variants. I think the emphasis now is to make sure we continue our investment in public health and that we have systems in place that are resilient and adaptable to any future outbreaks and maybe of other variants.
“That also relates to the vaccination structures that we have so that we can respond again and are in a position particularly towards the latter part of the year in terms of vaccinating particularly the more vulnerable groups in our society.”
The Taoiseach said that it was his personal view that masks should be worn but said that this would not influence decisions if Nphet greenlights getting rid of the mandatory requirement.