Nphet to advise Government people should work from home wherever possible

State’s public health team met on Thursday afternoon to discuss Covid-19 situation

Nphet chairman Dr Tony Holohan. File photograph: The Irish Times

Nphet chairman Dr Tony Holohan. File photograph: The Irish Times

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The State’s public-health team has advised Government that people should work from home wherever possible amid surging Covid-19 case numbers.

A letter from chief medical officer Tony Holohan was due to be sent to the Government on Thursday night asking that public-health messaging be strengthened in the lead-up to Christmas.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the Covid-19 situation.

A source said that while they had recommended that people should be asked to work from home where possible, the letter did not contain any mandatory work-from-home orders and that businesses were “not being asked to shut up shop”.

They said the team has focused on cutting social contacts and that asking people to work from home where possible would help with this aim.

Hospital Report

Confirmed cases in hospital Confirmed cases in ICU
979 93

“The message is that if people don’t need to be in work then ideally they would not be.”

Nphet has not recommended any additional restrictions whatsoever, the source said.

It is expected the Cabinet will consider the latest Nphet recommendation at its meeting next Tuesday.

The move to recommend an increased level of working from home came after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said earlier that a work-from-home order was not something that the Government was considering.

“In terms of regulation or Government policy, that is not something we are looking at,” he said, adding that the Government was also not considering extending the requirement of Covid certs to other areas such as gyms and hairdressers.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin reiterated on Thursday that he did not anticipate a dramatic return to restrictions.

A further 3,680 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed by Nphet on Thursday.

As of 8am, 543 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of whom 97 were in intensive-care units.