Hotels could be used as COVID-19 isolation units

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said hotels and other large-scale properties could be used as isolati...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.45 13 Mar 2020

Share this article

Hotels could be used as COVID-...

Hotels could be used as COVID-19 isolation units

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.45 13 Mar 2020

Share this article

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said hotels and other large-scale properties could be used as isolation units, if necessary.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has been asked to identify thousands of extra beds in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its CEO Paul Reid would not be drawn on figures, but confirmed they are in talks with the hotel sector.


The HSE has also written to staff who have retied in the last four years, asking if they would be willing to come back at this critical time.

Clinical operations officer Ann O'Connor says all staff who can be redeployed have been.

Parents are being advised to limit the amount of children involved in play dates and to make sure they are not displaying any symptoms.

Thousands of children are home from school, while créches and colleges are also closed.

Dr Sarah Doyle from the HSE says people should use their common sense.

"What we do and what we implement has to be doable, it has to be feasible because... if people are unable to implement the kind of measures we're advising they won't do it.

"So there has to be a practical approach.

"But then people need to know how they protect themselves in their own homes.

"So to limit the number - if you're having a play date - to limit the number, to teach your children how to interact.

"Obviously if a child is sick they shouldn't be coming, they shouldn't be having a play date.

"So it's being very realistic and practical and minimizing the risk, while allowing some semblance of normality to continue".

Earlier Mr Coveney told Newstalk Breakfast Mr Reid has had "an enormously generous response" from private hospitals, hotel owners and other owners of large-scale property.

"If necessary [these] could be adapted to provide isolation facilities for patients should that be needed outside of the hospital setting.

"But we're also of course working very hard to decant people outside of hospital who don't need to be there".

He said homecare packages are being put in place for people who could be looked after at home, so as to free up extra space and extra beds.

"So that has been happening now for quite some time.

"The HSE has been trying to work weeks ahead of where we are - what the HSE will be doing today is trying to plan where we need to be in a weeks' time, in two weeks' time, in a months time", Mr Coveney added.

He also said isolation would prioritize older, vulnerable people.

"Our National Public Health Emergency Team are essentially trying to plan on the basis of the possibility that up to 50% of the population could be impacted.

"If you look historically at flu-like viruses that are spreading through a population that has no base immunity - and there isn't vaccine and when there isn't a vaccine and there isn't treatment - well then somewhere between 25 and 50% f the population could be impacted."

But he said that several areas - such as the epicentre in Wuhan in China - seem to be past their peek.

"We simply don't know, but we of course have to make preparations for worst-case scenario".

Additional reporting: Kacey O'Riordan

Share this article

Read more about

Covid-19 Dr Sarah Doyle Hotels Isolation Units National Public Health Emergency Team Paul Reid Private Hospitals Simon Coveney

Most Popular