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Cabinet to sign off on new legislation to allow for mandatory mask-wearing rules

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The Cabinet will sign off on new legislation which will allow the Government to make mask wearing mandatory in certain settings.

The move is being described as precautionary and no settings have been earmarked for the return of legally required face coverings.

However, it is the first significant move in the Government response to Covid for a number of months and comes at a time of rising cases numbers and hospitalisations.

The Cabinet will be told the burden on hospitals caused by the virus has “increased considerably” in recent weeks.

But a senior Government sources said there is “no public health rationale” for masks to return and said they do not envisage the legislation being enacted any time soon.

“This is purely precautionary and lets people know we are still monitoring the situation and ready to take action,” the source said.

The Cabinet will be told Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has prepared a contingency Covid-19 public health bill.

The draft bill has been prepared with the Office of the Attorney General.

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The minister is also drafting a broader contingency Covid-19 bill which he agreed to do at a Cabinet Subcommittee on Covid meeting in February.

The Cabinet will be told burden on acute hospital care has increased considerably over recent weeks, from 167 case on May 28, to 767 as of June 27.

The ministers will also be told the number of new daily in hospital has also increases.

They will also be 74pc of people hospitalised due to Covid were aged 65 and older.

While, according to HSE data, 45pc of those hospitalised had received a booster vaccination, 21pc completed their primary vaccination course and 35pc had not completed their primary vaccination course.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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