The Irish government has today approved major changes in its approach to COVID-19 on the foot of recommendations issued by NPHET last week.

Ireland will remove the following COVID measures with effect from Monday, February 28 in the wake of approvals from the Irish government today: 

  • legal requirements for mask-wearing in all settings where currently regulated for, and
  • specific protective measures in place in schools and early learning and school-aged childcare facilities (for example: pods, social distancing, and staggering of breaks)

Regarding mask-wearing, the government says that the public health advice remains that masks should continue to be worn on public transport and in healthcare settings.

The government said today that it has also accepted the updated public health advice in relation to isolation and testing requirements for COVID-19 symptoms, cases and close contacts. You can learn more about those changes here.

Noting that Omicron is "still with us," the government continues to advise that the population complete its primary and booster programme of vaccination, isolate if symptomatic or diagnosed with COVID-19 (even if fully vaccinated and boosted), and "continue to manage risk for yourself and others" by mask-wearing, physical distancing, and avoiding crowds in addition to basic hand and respiratory hygiene.

"The current epidemiological profile of COVID-19 in Ireland continues to provide a broadly stable and positive outlook," the Department of the Taoiseach said in a statement announcing the changes today, February 22.

"Following a recent moderate increase – particularly amongst young adults – the number of infections detected per day remains high but has stabilized, and may be starting to decrease.

"While the burden on our hospitals remains significant, it is relatively stable."

Today's government approvals come just days after Ireland's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) made the recommendations to Ireland's Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.