The Cabinet has heard that some early work is under way on legislation that could make mask-wearing compulsory again in certain settings.

However, the move is viewed as precautionary and the legislation will not be introduced before the Dáil goes into recess next month.

All the regulations around mask-wearing expired when public health restrictions were lifted last February.

However, the advice remains to wear them in health settings and on public transport.

Today's discussions are focused on having the option of reintroducing the regulations, if required, later in the year.

One source said it is about having a plan in place and not having to start from scratch next autumn.

Speaking to RTÉ's News at One, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said: "We should be clear, there isn't any immediate plans to reintroduce mask wearing on public transport or other locations."

He said that health officials are continuing to issue advice on masks and the Government will follow this.

Mr Ryan said that the Government felt that before the summer recess it would be appropriate to make sure that it had the necessary legislation in place.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Latest figures from 8am this morning report 751 people are in hospital with the virus, a decrease of 14 from yesterday's 765.

Of those, 28 are in ICU, a decrease of seven from Monday's figures.

Stephen Donnelly arriving at Dublin Castle for this morning's Cabinet meeting

It comes as the Minister for Health expressed concern over an increase in the number of people being treated in hospitals and ICUs with Covid-19.

Read more: Army to be put on standby for Dublin Airport security

Speaking on his way into today's Cabinet meeting, Stephen Donnelly added that half of those in hospital with the virus have not been vaccinated.

He said three in every four people being hospitalised with Covid are over the age of 65.

Vaccine spend could reach €557m this year

Ireland will spend up to €557m on Covid-19 vaccines this year.

Today, the Cabinet was told the country has offered 4.5 million vaccines to other countries but has yet to find recipient countries.

The State's vaccine steering board is taking steps to alleviate vaccine wastage by delaying some deliveries.

The Government has not disclosed which companies it is purchasing vaccines from as it is commercially sensitive.

Last year, the State planned to use 6 million vaccines but instead used 9.7 million due to higher than expected demand which resulted in an overspend of €94.4m.

'Time to get out masks again' - WHO envoy

The WHO's special envoy on Covid-19 has said that "it's time to get the masks out again".

Speaking to RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Dr David Nabarro said: "I would like everybody to be carrying some nice, good masks, clean masks in a little pouch in their briefcase, in their handbag or in their inside pocket."

He said that there are two situations when a person should decide to slip a mask on.

Firstly, if a person begins to feel unwell and they cannot get home quickly to isolate and take a test, they should at least put a mask on to prevent the spread of illness to others.

Secondly, if a person finds themselves in a crowded environment without good ventilation, they should put on a mask.

Additional reporting: David Murphy