Covid-19: Another 26,072 cases recorded over past few days

Advice issued on return to workplace is ‘non-prescriptive’, SME association says

Another 3,872 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the State, while 4,759 more people have registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.

These figures were among the latest Covid data reported by the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Monday afternoon. In addition to these cases, Nphet also reported Covid case figures for Saturday and Sunday on Monday.

Nphet said that, on Sunday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) was notified of 4,400 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 3,893 more people registering a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.

Meanwhile, it said that on Saturday, the HPSC was notified of 5,091 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 4,057 more people registering a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.


On Friday Nphet had stated that Covid-19 case figures would no longer be published at the weekend.

As of 8am on Monday, 692 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised, of which 75 were in ICU.

New guidelines on the return to the workplace are “non-prescriptive” and leave the management of the issue in the hands of employers and employees, chief executive of the Irish SME Association Neil McDonnell has told The Irish Times.

In new advice issued on Monday, the Government urged employers to adopt a cautious approach to the return to workplaces, stressing a gradual process and consultation with worker representatives.

It said employers may wish to keep some Covid rules in place for now despite the emergency recommendation to work from home being lifted earlier this month.

Employers should arrange permanent hybrid working arrangements where appropriate and provide support for employees nervous about the return to the office, it said.

A spokesman for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the main focus of the document was "to maintain safe workplaces within the context of the main restrictions having been lifted" as the pandemic was "not over, so a cautious approach is still required".

A spokesman for public service union Fórsa said the guidelines were “not a great surprise” after the announcement from the Taoiseach earlier this month that restrictions were being lifted.

It “covers all the ground of the previous advice” but now changed from “direction to advice” under most headings, leaving “a lot for employers to decide for themselves”, the spokesman said.

The document “acknowledged to a degree” the concerns of people who are high risk or immunocompromised. Fórsa will be “advising our representatives to talk to employers to make sure the protocol is sensitive to safety concerns”.

“Another concern is that because it’s been two years of remote working now, people have long-standing arrangements around childcare and other work-life balance elements.”

“Employers need to take account of that and consult with unions and staff to readjust their arrangements and create space for that,” the spokesman said.

“We’re very concerned that workers could lose the benefits that have accrued around blended working. We’re very keen to see employers and the Government engage to ensure those benefits for people,” he said.