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The universal use of masks ended on Wednesday, April 19

The compulsory requirement for patients, visitors, and employees to wear masks in hospitals and other health care areas ends April 19, according to recent recommendations from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).

Personal protective equipment was made required in healthcare settings during the pandemic as part of efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19.

However, it will be up to each institution to choose how this should be implemented in practise.

As a result, certain patients, employees, and visitors will still be compelled to wear masks.

The HPSC has also urged that masks should be used while interacting with people suffering from respiratory problems.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has stated that the mask mandate should be maintained because COVID-19 is still a concern and many hospitals are overcrowded.

The INMO’s General Secretary has strongly criticised the decision.

Phil Ni Sheaghdha stated, “It’s absolutely the wrong move right now.”

Because of the excessive number of people in hospitals, she claimed, many individuals were still getting COVID-19 and other transmissible illnesses.

Masks become optional on public transport and in stores in February 2022.

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has stated that a few frontline personnel have yet to get their €1,000 pandemic bonus.

The figure was characterised by him as “very small.”

Minister Donnelly informed the Oireachtas Health Committee that €208 million had already been allocated.

The HSE paid out €88 million, Section 38 received €52 million, and Section 39 received €67 million.

“If there are people who have not been paid,” he remarked, “they are local anomalies.”

He said that the delay was caused in part by the HSE’s conservative approach to disbursing funds, but that the attitude has now shifted to “self-assessment first and validation later.”

“It is unforgiveable at this stage when we are talking about winding down services in relation to the pandemic,” Sinn Féin Committee Chair Sean Crowe stated.

Minister Donnelly called the bonus “very favourable” in comparison to other countries.

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