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The HSE’s considering re-introducing mandatory mask-wearing amid rising Covid cases.

However a number of leading health experts feel it’s not the best way of keeping the current surge at bay.

HSE CEO Paul Reid says the return of mandatory mask wearing in certain settings would be ‘actively considered’.

However he told the Examiner keeping the virus at bay within hospitals and care settings would be their priority.

Infectious Diseases Consultant Eoghan de Barra says less emphasis should be placed on face coverings, and more on the rollout of the booster.

“(The latest variant) really is so infectious that the cloth face coverings really are of lesser value and if you’re talking about individual protection, then it probably needs to be an FFP2 grade mask”.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation are among the groups who are calling for mandatory masks on public transport.

As of last night there were 593 people with the virus being treated in hospitals nationwide- an increase of 350 in the space of two weeks.