Covid: 19,866 new cases as people are urged to wear face masks in crowded settings

On Friday, the WHO's special envoy on Covid, Dr David Nabarro, said with Covid cases on the rise once again, members of the public should return to wearing face masks.
Covid: 19,866 new cases as people are urged to wear face masks in crowded settings

A further 19,866 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed as calls continue for people to continue to wear face masks in crowded settings.

According to the Department of Health, there have been another 9,324 positive cases of Covid-19 confirmed by PCR testing in Ireland.

In addition, a further 10,542 people registered a positive antigen test through the HSE portal.

As of 8am on Friday, there were 1,466 Covid-19 patients in hospital, with 55 in intensive care.

Despite the rising number of cases, the Taoiseach said on Thursday that there was no justification for further restrictions.

However, Mr Martin did appeal to people to wear masks in crowded places, even though the legal requirement to do so has lifted.

On Friday, the WHO's special envoy on Covid, Dr David Nabarro, said with Covid cases on the rise once again, members of the public should return to wearing face masks and practise basic public health measures, such as keeping their distance from one another and washing their hands.

"If I were in Ireland right now, I would be expecting there to be a request for mask-wearing in confined spaces where there may be crowds, such as public transport, for example, and hospitality venues that are hot and unventilated.

"I would be expecting those to be the kind of places where mask-wearing and physical distancing become strongly recommended."

Transport workers have also raised concerns about the prevalence of the virus, with the National Bus and Rail Union repeating its call for a return of mandatory mask wearing on public transport.

According to the union, just 20 per cent of commuters are wearing masks on public transport.

Meanwhile, hospitals around the country have opted to reintroduce restrictions on patient visits due to the increased prevalence of the virus over the last number of weeks.

Members of the public have also been urged to avoid attending Emergency Departments (EDs) unless it is completely necessary as services come under substantial strain.

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