New law will allow Government to make mask wearing mandatory in certain settings

28/06/2022 21:00:00

New law will allow Government to make mask wearing mandatory in certain settings

New law will allow Government to make mask wearing mandatory in certain settings

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

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.

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The move is being described as precautionary and no settings have been earmarked for the return of legally required face coverings.Cabinet Ministers are due to sign off on new laws which will allow the Government to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in certain settings.Expand France's President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Brussels last week.No potential settings have been identified and sources say there are no immediate plans for a return to mandatory mask wearing.

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.” It comes as Ministers, including Health Minister Stephen Donnelly have recently expressed concern about the surge in Covid-19 cases, particularly the number of frontline healthcare workers testing positive. 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. While Macron was re-elected for a new five-year mandate in April, his party’s setback in this month’s legislative elections will probably make it harder to push through policy changes, just as France faces mounting debt, soaring inflation and potential energy shortages amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. “This is purely precautionary and lets people know we are still monitoring the situation and ready to take action,” the source said. Last week, Ministers said the advice had not changed on mask wearing, but now there has been a shift in response to a potential further winter wave. 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. However, it’s understood the move could see the return of face masks in areas such as public transport and healthcare settings. The basis for these discussions will be the presidential platform, which may be “amended or enriched, with raising taxes or the country’s debt being red lines, Macron said. 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. It's understood the advice from Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has not changed and he has not recommended Government move to reintroduce mandatory mask wearing in certain settings. The ministers will also be told the number of new daily in hospital has also increases. The prime minister said yesterday she’ll discuss with parliamentary groups next week their readiness to cooperate with the government before proposing a road map to Macron. They will also be 74pc of people hospitalised due to Covid were aged 65 and older." One Cabinet Minister said they would be "more worried about the winter ahead.

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. Today's Headlines . Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and far-left party France Unbowed won’t be considered as potential allies for the government, the president said.