ROISIN Shortall has said premium masks should be “free” for all frontline workers – as NPHET is getting ready for an emergency meeting on restrictions next week.
The Social Democrat co-leader also said antigen tests needed to be “in everyone’s pocket” because of their rising cost.
Speaking on Saturday with Katie Hannon on RTE Radio One, she said: “We’ve been promised subsidies for antigen tests and we haven’t seen those.
“It’s a significant expense if people do that, let’s say a close family and they have to have an antigen test in seven days.
“We should all use routine antigen tests but they have to be affordable for everyone and the other thing of course is high-end masks.
“Again, it took a lot of time for that, that point needs to be emphasized but they are also very expensive.
“I’m only interested in being in Italy that they have introduced a price cap for high-end masks of 75 cents each.”
Asked if politicians were getting masks and antigen tests at Leinster House, she added: “Yes and the idea that nurses for example have to fight to get supplies full of those.
“Of course, they should be freely available to any front-line worker – those in the healthcare, education and many other sectors.”
The National Public Health Emergencies Group will meet next Thursday and will advise Health Secretary Stephen Donnelly on the current restrictions.
HSE boss Paul Reid has said that “a consistent set of Covid-19 trend gives great hope” for Ireland.
He added that the number of people in the hospital with the virus dropped to 940.
The number of people hospitalized has risen above 1,000 in recent days, worrying health officials.
Reid tweeted: “Fewer patients on oxygen support. GP referrals and overall cases both down.
“The booster vaccines and public response have so far mitigated the worst of the effects.”
He once again urged everyone to get a strong hit.
Taoiseach Michael Martin said yesterday that he hope Covid-19 restrictions can be lifted at the end of the month, allow events and the hotel sector to open after 8pm.
Martin said the country is making progress against the Omicron variant.
He said: “I hope that we will be in a position to move forward in light of the current restrictions but I am not in a position to say anything definitive about that yet.
CLOSE CONTACT CHANGES
“I wanted to really see what public health was saying, and also get a sense of where Omicron was.”
As of yesterday, people who have been in close contact with people who received the booster shot and do not have any symptoms will no longer need to be isolated.
They have been advised to wear more advanced masks and continue to perform routine antigen tests.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8210565/covid-19-ireland-high-grade-face-masks-free-frontline-workers/ Covid-19 Ireland – Premium masks should be free for all frontline workers, says Roisin Shortall