Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan and Monaghan, Brendan Smith, has urged the Minister for Health to place renewed emphasis on the need for public health guidelines and advice – including mask-wearing – to be adhered to in view of the substantial increase in Covid-19 case numbers.
Deputy Brendan Smith, commented, “Stronger messaging and advertising is essential for the government to reinforce the importance of mask-wearing in certain settings and also adherence to basic hygiene and sanitation measures that have been an essential feature of public health advice since the start of the pandemic.
“To support our healthcare and frontline workers and people who are particularly vulnerable to this virus I believe the government should be responsive now to the strong views being expressed at present by healthcare workers concerning the need to counteract the rising covid numbers in every community throughout the country”, stated the Cavan and Monaghan TD.
The Minister for Health, in his reply to Deputy Brendan Smith’s Parliamentary Question in Dáil Éireann stated: “The current rise in cases of Covid-19 reinforces the need for all of us to continue to adhere to the public health advice. Following the last meeting of the NPHET, and on the basis of the advice I received from the CMO, the Government removed the mandatory element of mask wearing in areas where it was regulated.
“The NPHET advice, that was accepted by Government, clearly stated that while the mandatory element of mask wearing had been removed, there was no change to the public health advice in relation to the continued wearing of masks, practicing of physical distancing and avoidance of crowded environments based on individual risk assessment and with a continuing focus on protecting others, and adherence to basic hand and respiratory hygiene.”
Minister Donnelly added: “The wearing of masks is also advised on public transport. This is a setting where physical distancing can be difficult and where those who are more vulnerable to the severe impacts of Covid-19 do not always have a discretion to avoid. For these reasons, the NPHET recommended that the wearing of masks on public transport should continue to be advised. The continuation of mask wearing in healthcare settings is also advised.
“These messages, along with the important message to stay home if you have symptoms, are being carried on my Department and HSE social media channels, so as to remind people of the current public health advice,” concluded the Minister for Health.
Note to Editors
Please see attached PQ from Deputy Brendan Smith