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Freedom day cancelled: Masks, distancing & vaccine passports to stay

The government, on the advice of NPHET, has decided that mask-wearing, social distancing, and vaccine passports should continue past Friday October 22nd, when all remaining restrictions were originally supposed to be lifted.

The move has brought talks of a so-called “freedom day” to a screeching halt, and was decided amid rising Covid-19 case numbers.

NPHET met last night to discuss the trajectory of the virus, before urging the government not to loosen the restrictions this week – advice which the government has followed.

In addition to extending these measures, nightclubs will open using the digital Covid cert system, and it’s likely that antigen testing will be more widely used in various venues.

“I’m a strong believer in antigen testing,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

“Our public health officials have a more moderated perspective on the value of antigen testing, but some sectors have rolled out antigen testing and that’s something that the government will be considering.”

The Taoiseach also said that digital vaccine certs would be used for festivals and indoor dining past Friday, with HSE head Paul Reid saying that it was “time for all of us to hit the reset button.”

In addition, following advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC), over-60s will soon be offered Covid-19 booster jabs, which the government says will be an essential part of their strategy for combating the virus over the winter.

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