Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan is advising the Government that people should go back to working from home as fears grow that Covid-19 cases could spiral out of control.
But there is resistance within Government to row back completely on plans for people to gradually return to workplaces on a phased basis.
However, a senior Government source said “the advice has been clear and people should work from home where possible and only go into the office for specific purposes.”
NPHET member and Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE, Dr Colm Henry, has said that working from home could “reduce the chance of you either catching the virus or transmitting the virus.
“Any extra opportunity the virus is given to transmit it will avail of that opportunity.”
Dr Henry told RTÉ that it would be up to the Government to decide whether to adopt NPHET’s advice.
He encouraged people to cut down on their social contacts adding: “The first line of defence is people stopping transmission in the community.”
It’s understood that Dr Holohan will advise the Government that employees should be encouraged to work from home and that employers should facilitate workers and have protective measures in offices if people are required to be in the office.
Latest figures from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) show that 50% of people are working in workplaces at present.
NPHET have also recommended the Government to strengthen their messaging to the public on adhering to public health measures.
But the health chiefs have not recommended the reintroduction of restrictions.
The Government is expected to discuss NPHET’s latest recommendation in the coming days.
NPHET are to meet again in two weeks to see if there has been any positive change in the trajectory of the virus.
What about pubs and further restrictions?
Speaking on RTE today, the Taoiseach said: “I don’t see a dramatic going back or returning to where we were but because of socialisation, because we have reopened society, with the Delta variant that has resulted in very high case numbers and that is worrying.”
Asked whether Ireland could be facing further restrictions over the festive period, he told Today FM: “I don’t see Christmas lockdowns.
“We may have to imaginatively look at how we behave and how we manage events.”
Tony Holohan has asked people to maybe consider going out once rather than twice in a week – but did not suggest any new rules were on the way for hospitality.
The CMO yesterday called on people to cut their contacts by 50% as Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn warned people they are at a greater risk of coming into contact with someone that is infected than ever before in the pandemic.
Dr Holohan said: “We’re not seeing encouraging signs in the reduction of socialisation, we’re still seeing a high level of socialisation right across the population.
“A lot of people are listening but maybe just not enough.
“Restrictions, if we think they’re needed, will always be something that we’ll give contemplation to.
“If you mean the closure of social and economic activity, nobody is ruling out things like that anywhere.
“But, at the same time, there is no expectation that we’re going t