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16th Dec 2021

More restrictions expected to be recommended by NPHET today

Sarah McKenna Barry

Possible recommendations include reducing indoor socialising and new advice for close contacts.

The National Public Health Emergency Team are set to issue new recommendations to the Government today regarding additional restrictions.

The team met due to the rising number of hospitalisations and concerns over the Omicron variant.

As reported in RTÉ, NPHET are expected to make recommendations regarding reducing indoor social mixing, and advising all close contacts of positive cases restrict their movements.

There is also a possibility that NPHET will make recommendations regarding hospitality. This led the Restaurants Association of Ireland to issue a warning stating that further restrictions would result in a “devastating economic impact on businesses already flattened financially”.

Photograph: Sam Boal /

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin said yesterday that he doesn’t anticipate further travel restrictions on those coming home to Ireland for Christmas.

While in Brussels, he said: “Obviously public health advice will come, there will be a meeting of NPHET tomorrow evening and I would prefer to wait for that and Government’s response to that before getting into specifics, but suffice to say, all, including public health officials, realise the festive season is upon us, an important part of the year where families get together and we recognise the obvious human factors involved and flexibilities will apply.”

He went on to say that he “doesn’t see specific travel measures in respect of Omicron”.

Mr Martin said: “We’re going to emphasise the importance of testing before you travel, tests before you engage in social activity (…) all designed to protect your loved ones, yourself and also participate that bit better in activities.

“One doesn’t see specific travel measures in respect of Omicron but I do think the key message has to be everywhere across Europe to redouble efforts, increase vaccination and particularly in relation to the booster vaccine without question, it gives significant additional protection to people from Omicron and reduce the prospect of serious illness.”

He emphasised the importance of testing as well as the rollout of the booster programme, and said that both will form “key pillars” in managing the virus.

Feature image: Julien Behal /