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Operational guidance remains the same

Following the announcement by the NI Health Minister that the final remaining covid restrictions are being removed and replaced by guidance from today, members of the public are asking if dentistry in Northern Ireland can return to its pre-pandemic form in terms of regular check-ups being offered.

At this time, the Operational Guidance remains the same - what has changed is the legal enforcement of any public health advice. As we told BBC News Northern Ireland this week, measures to keep patients and staff safe have radically reduced capacity across the service.

In the meantime, the Chief Dental Officer's understanding is that the wearing of face coverings in Health and Social care settings is "strongly encouraged". Indeed, the CDO is keen that dental practices continue to use the mitigations as best as they can, by asking patients to continue to wear face coverings.

In the coming days, the Public Health Agency advice section will be updated for all healthcare settings – including social distancing requirements. We will keep you updated.