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25/09/2021

Taoiseach confirms that NPHET will soon "cease to exist as a separate body"

Micheál Martin made the announcement while speaking to RTÉ's News at One.

Micheál Martin at RTÉ's News at One studio

Micheál Martin at RTÉ's News at One studio

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin has confirmed that the country's National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) will soon cease to exist.

Mr. Martin made the revelation following previous reports from last week that NPHET was set to disband soon, and his most recent public message outlining the easing of Covid-19 restrictions throughout the country.

An Taoiseach told RTÉ's News at One programme that NPHET, and by extension the vaccine taskforce, will gradually be transitioned into the normal functions of the Department of Health and the HSE.

In addition, Mr. Martin said that "the legacy of the pandemic needs to include a stronger public health function," and stressed that it was critical to deal with the pandemic over the coming months, as "we are not going to eliminate the virus" from Ireland.

Other notable announcements from An Taoiseach include the budget for public health being doubled and 150 posts being allocated.

One of these posts includes the first ever consultant posts in public medicine, while a role of director of public health medicine is to be created.

Mr. Martin further expressed cautious optimism, adding: "without question, we must evaluate how we performed and learn lessons to equip us for the next emergency, be it a pandemic or something else."

Despite the Taoiseach's reassurances, NPHET recently claimed that Ireland could see up to 3,000 cases of COVID-19 a day by mid-September.

NPHET was created on January 27th last year within the Department of Health, and was tasked with providing guidance on the development and implementation of a strategy to contain COVID-19 and curb the spread of the virus.

Yesterday, The Department of Health was notified of 1,382 new cases of the virus.

In total, Ireland has recorded a total of 352,447 cases of COVID-19 over the course of pandemic, with 5,092 recorded deaths, while Ireland’s vaccination rate currently stands at 90 per cent.

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