New measures are being sought.
Mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations are currently being considered by Nphet as Government are said to be nervous about easing the current restrictions in the hospitality sector.
According to The Irish Times, the minutes from a meeting on December 16th shows that the public health team is looking into mandatory vaccinations and a new paper is being prepared by the Department of Health on the legal and ethical aspects of implementing it.
“It was noted that the Nphet will discuss the issue of mandatory vaccination at a later date and this discussion will be facilitated by a forthcoming paper from the Department of Health on the relevant ethical and legal considerations pertaining to this topic,” the minutes said.
This comes after the Taoiseach confirmed that more than half of Covid patients in ICU are unvaccinated, who account for only 5% of the adults in Ireland.
Ireland is not the only European country looking into this as Germany is considering introducing it and Italy has put a mandate in place for over 50s.
The minutes of this meeting also showed that some members of Nphet didn’t agree with the 8pm closing time for hospitality that was introduced last month, with ministers said to be sceptical of the measures.
Ministers are said to be in favour of removing the 8pm curfew and the rule of only allowing six people per table as they “voiced concern” over the early closing times and noted that the restrictions were “disproportionate by international comparison.”
Some said there should be a focus on reducing capacity rather than trading hours but this week Nphet has insisted that the current restrictions remain in place until the end of January.
There is also said to be support in Government for an immediate reopening in February as long as the Omicron wave has peaked by then rather than a gradual reopening.
The Government is also awaiting advice from Nphet to shorten isolation times for close contacts, with a meeting scheduled for January 20th but it may occur this week instead.
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