Cabinet to discuss new Covid-19 proposals

Ministers are expected to advise parents to limit the amount of indoor mixing among children outside school.

Dominic McGrath
Tuesday 30 November 2021 10:46
Ministers are expected to advise parents to limit the amount of indoor mixing among children outside school (Joe Giddens/PA)
Ministers are expected to advise parents to limit the amount of indoor mixing among children outside school (Joe Giddens/PA)

The Cabinet will meet later to discuss proposed new measures designed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

It comes as the emergence of the new Omicron variant prompts concern worldwide, while health officials in Ireland warn that coronavirus rates remain too high.

Ministers are expected to advise parents to limit the amount of socialising among children outside school.

They will also discuss whether to introduce a new testing regime for international travellers to tackle and delay the spread of the new variant.

New recommendations on mask-wearing for children are also on the agenda.

On his way into Cabinet on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheal Martin urged people to follow the public health advice.

“Vigilance is important. I want to thank the people for the degree to which they have moderated behaviour while in terms of socialisation.

“That is the message for the next number of weeks.

“All of us would continue to moderate and reduce our socialisation in a sensible way to get the overall numbers down and turn the curve of this Delta wave.”

Members of the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) met party leaders on Monday to discuss the latest Covid situation in Ireland.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said on Monday that it is “likely” the new Omicron variant is now in Ireland and there are already some suspected cases.

A further 4,607 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed on Monday.

According to the latest figures, there are 579 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 115 are in intensive care.

On Tuesday morning, the Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, said any restrictions on children must be “appropriate and proportionate”.

Children have never been found wanting in doing what’s asked of them in relation to this crisis,” he said.

“But it’s been extremely stressful for children over the last 18 months, nearly two years.”

He said it will be the second Christmas that children are being asked to avoid parties and their friends.

“That is developmentally important for children, that they meet people outside the school setting,” Dr Muldoon told RTE radio.

“However, we still have to balance that with making sure we keep the schools open.”

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