Government should expand COVID Cert to other areas - NPHET

NPHET says the re-imposition of restrictions cannot be fully ruled out
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.17 12 Nov 2021

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Government should expand COVID...

Government should expand COVID Cert to other areas - NPHET

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.17 12 Nov 2021

Share this article

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) say the Government should consider extending the Digital COVID Certificate to areas not yet covered by it.

In his latest letter to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan says there is "significant and sustained impact" across all aspects of the health service due to the current level of COVID-19.

This includes public health, testing and tracing services and general practice - as well as broader primary care services and the acute hospital system.


And he says the level of infection is having "a disproportionate and highly disruptive" impact on non-COVID care across the entire health system.

The letter also notes that while many EU states are re-introducing a range of public health measures, "NPHET is not currently recommending the re-imposition of social and economic restrictions".

However Dr Holohan adds: "It must be noted that this cannot be fully ruled out."


On testing, he says people who regularly engage in "higher risk activities" should consider self-testing on a regular basis.

He says this would be a minimum of twice weekly, spaced out by three days, for activities that are ongoing over a period of time.

These activities could include going to bars, restaurants, nightclubs, the cinema, multi-household visits, playing indoor contact sports, and car sharing with people from other households.

People should also consider using a single self-test before doing higher-risk activities, he adds.

Facemasks and distancing

NPHET says other basic measures, such as physical distancing, should be re-emphasised with the development and roll-out of a 'Layer Up' communications campaign by the Government.

This asks people to continue to adopt the full range of protective behaviours.

On face masks, "a further strengthening of communications targeted at individuals and sectors" is recommended.

This will focus on how to wear a mask correctly, and where mask wearing is mandatory or advised - including crowded outdoor settings.

There is also to be targeted communications to people who should be wearing medical grade face masks: those over-70 and medically vulnerable, and those with symptoms.


On the COVID Certs, Dr Holohan recommends a campaign targeted at people and sectors to continue to focus on clarity on where it is required - and the importance of implementation.

There will also be "a sustained focus" on inspection and enforcement processes, he adds.

NPHET also say they will give consideration over the coming period "to implications for the COVID pass system arising from the COVID-19 booster programme".

The letter adds that Government should give consideration "to the extension of its application to settings where there is high risk of transmission, through close contact or other activities, not yet covered by the current regime."

And the group says people should be reminded of the importance of ventilation - in both private households and public settings - as we move into winter.

As previously reported, NPHET say advice to work from home - where possible - should be re-instated.

It says the return to workplaces involves a potential increase in contacts, both directly - in the workplace itself - and indirectly - when travelling to or from work.

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19 will consider their recommendations on Monday.

Main image: A woman holds her EU Digital Covid Certificate QR code in Tuscany, Italy in August 2021. Picture by: AGENZIA SINTESI / Alamy Stock Photo

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Booster Programme Covid-19 Digital COVID Cert Dr Tony Holohan Higher Risk Activities Layer Up Mask Wearing Medical Grade Face Masks NPHET National Public Health Emergency Team Non-COVID Care Physical Distancing Restrictions Self-testing Stephen Donnelly

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