Advertisement

Top doctor calls for cross-party Emergency Cabinet to respond to COVID-19

A leading doctor is calling for the establishment of a cross-party Emergency Cabinet to deal with...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.25 7 Mar 2020


Share this article


Top doctor calls for cross-par...

Top doctor calls for cross-party Emergency Cabinet to respond to COVID-19

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.25 7 Mar 2020


Share this article


A leading doctor is calling for the establishment of a cross-party Emergency Cabinet to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after the number of confirmed cases on the island of Ireland rose to 22.

Yesterday, five new cases were confirmed in the Republic, along with one more in the North.

Advertisement

On Newstalk Breakfast with Susan Keogh this morning, Professor Sam McConkey from the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons said Ireland’s response so far “has been like a small mouse facing an elephant.”

“We haven’t got into the really sweeping, all of society, all of industry, all of Government response that is needed to deal with this,” he said.

Coronavirus COVID-19 The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right), alongside HSE Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan at Government Buildings in Dublin, 06-07-2020. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

He said he views the outbreak as “the biggest challenge to the functioning of our State that we have ever seen.”

“This is a very, very big national emergency and there are a suite of about 20 or 30 very dramatic actions that we could take as a people to fix it.

“China has done that and we have not even touched on that yet. Otherwise, it is just going to spread through our population like the cruise ship, the Diamond Princess.”

He said the response requires a “strong, powerful central government”

“It will require cross-party support,” he said. “As in the leaders of five or six of the biggest parties coming together in an Emergency Cabinet to lead us through this COVID-19 emergency.”

Coronavirus COVID-19 HSE Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan gives an update on COVID-19 at the Department of Health in Dublin, 06-03-2020. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Speaking last night, the country’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the risk of contracting the virus in Ireland still remains low.

He said officials are able to explain the transmission of all but one of the 18 cases diagnosed in the Republic.

Protection

Anthony Staines, professor of health systems at DCU, said people have a responsibility to protect themselves from the virus – which may be around for many months.

“There is a hope that it will die off as summer draws near but that may not happen,” he said.

“It is possible this virus will stay around for a long time. It is up to us to manage it.

“It is up to all of us. Ask yourself, am I using tissues? Am I washing my hands properly? Am I staying a social distance away from people? Because those are the things we can all do.”

There have been more than 100,000 cases of the virus confirmed around the world – the vast majority of them in China.

There have been nearly 7,000 cases in South Korea and over 4,500 in both Iran and Italy.

There are 164 cases in the UK and health officials last night confirmed that two people have now died.

Coronavirus COVID-19 US Vice President Mike Pence (front) with members of the Coronavirus Task Force at the White House, 07-07-2020. Image: Ting Shen/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

In the US, there are 164 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, 21 people have tested positive for the virus onboard a cruise ship off the coast of California.

The Grand Princess is currently under orders to keep its distance from shore - but plans are being put in place to bring it to a non-commercial port.

Pope

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has cancelled all his immediate public appearances to avoid crowds gathering during the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

He will live-stream Sunday and Wednesday's events on the internet from inside the Vatican instead - without any general public participation.

The 83-year-old has also cancelled a Lent retreat as he's suffering from a cold.

Symptoms

The HSE is urging anyone who has been to one of seven coronavirus-affected areas in the past two weeks and is experiencing symptoms of the virus to phone their local GP or Emergency Department without delay.

The symptoms are a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fever (high temperature).

If you are feeling well, you are advised to carry on with your normal routine.

People are urged to contact the HSE on 1850 24 1850 if they think they have been in contact with a coronavirus patient or if they were at a healthcare facility in another country where coronavirus patients are being treated.

Health officials say there is no need for masks or gloves.

The best way to protect yourself from the virus is to:

  • Wash your hands properly and often
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
  • Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Avoid close contact with people who are not well.

Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.


Share this article


Read more about

Coronavirus Covid-19 Emergency Cabinet Sam McConkey

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Newstalk Breakfast

Newstalk Breakfast

08:00-09:00

Share

Up next

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-11:00

Share

Henry's Horror Show

Henry's Horror Show

11:00-12:00

Share

Ireland's Call with Simon Tier...

Ireland's Call with Simon Tierney

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

What's Going On with Stefanie...

What's Going On with Stefanie Preissner

16:00-18:00

Share

THE HOME SHOW WITH SINEAD RYAN

THE HOME SHOW WITH SINEAD RYAN

18:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on