The Health Minister admits overcrowding in hospitals will get worse before it gets better.
It comes after the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation yesterday counted its highest-ever number of people waiting on trolleys or seats in hospital emergency departments at 931.
The union called for a return to the mask mandate in crowded settings, which the Health Minister says is not being considered at the moment.
Minister Donnelly said the wave of flu infections is expected to get worse before it gets better.
"The advice I have from the Chief Medical Officer is the modelling is difficult in terms of being accurate. However, what I can tell you is the HSE's view today when I met them was that this is likely to get worse, and we are likely to see more pressure. They don't believe that the flu wave has peaked."
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says he’s not considering reintroducing a mask mandate in public settings. The measure was called for by the INMO, which recorded a record high number of people waiting on trolleys across the country. pic.twitter.com/5xzD5JP4iq
— Mairéad Cleary (@maireadcleary7) January 3, 2023
He said the issue of masks will be kept under review "on a daily and on a weekly basis."
"I don't anticipate any change coming in terms of the public health advice from the Chief Medical Officer.
"However I want to fully acknowledge the INMO's concerns.
"The public health advice to Government, and to me at the moment, is not to move to mask mandates."