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Phil Ní Sheaghdha, the general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Phil Ní Sheaghdha, the general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Rumours that nurses have died from Covid-19 'callous' says INMO

THE General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said people who spread false rumours on social media about Irish nurses dying from Covid-19 are "extraordinarily callous".

On Tuesday, the HSE hit back at "distressing" social media rumours that a number of its nurses have died from the virus.

Phil Ní Sheaghdha told RTÉ Radio she has become aware of the rumours circulating on social media over the weekend.

"We had information over the weekend that there was a post going around on social media that four nurses had died. I find that extraordinarily callous - that is the word I would use. Nurses are on the front line and really putting themselves out there."

Over-70s must stay indoors even if they are fit and active, the Assistant Secretary General at the Department of the Taoiseach has said.

Speaking at a Government briefing in Dublin on Wednesday, Liz Canavan said: "We know many people over 70 are fit, well and active. Nevertheless the chief medical officer's advice is that you should stay at home. We appreciate how frustrating this is but the reason the CMO has made that recommendation is based on what we know about the impact of the disease."

Pictured Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan speaking in Government Buildings as she briefs media on the latest measures Government Departments have introduced in response to Covid-19. Photo Photocall Ireland
Pictured Deputy Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan speaking in Government Buildings as she briefs media on the latest measures Government Departments have introduced in response to Covid-19. Photo Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile, Ms Canavan said a number of applications for the pandemic unemployment payment "have not progressed to payment due to missing or incorrect information".

Ms Canavan said a new podcast to help young people cope with anxiety is being launched during the Covid-19 emergency.

She said: "Understandably, the risks and reality of the global pandemic have probably been at the forefront of everyone's mind. For that reason, it's particularly important to take the necessary steps to look out for our mental health at this time.

"We're very conscious that parents, children, young people may be anxious about the disease and about the disruption to their own routine, even school and all the other activities, they'd like to be involved in.

"No age group is immune to the stress caused by this crisis.

"So in order to address this fear and anxiety in young people in particular, a podcast has been created with the systems of the National Education Psychology Service (NEPS) which offers a series of relaxation techniques, specifically designed to help young people cope with that anxiety, and that's available via SoundCloud."

Ms Canavan warned of an increase in Covid-19 related frauds and scams.

"We're anticipating that fraudsters may attempt to pose as Government, banks or other organisations to ask for financial details to process payments," she said.

"Don't be rushed, take your time to do relevant checks and always support immediate suspicious activity to banks or gardaí."

She said as today is April Fools' Day people should only heed messages and advice from official sources.

"Remember, if it is true, you'll hear it here."

Ms Canavan said procurement issues are a global problem and there are challenges securing materials needed for testing for the virus.

"This week the HSE public analysis laboratory at Cherry Orchard and the Department of Agriculture have also come online, bringing additional capacity into the laboratory space.

"The HSE has asked us to apologise to all those waiting for test results to assure the public, they're making every endeavour to improve turnaround times with the current international constraints.

"Testing is being performed for public health as opposed to clinical reasons and patients waiting for results should continue to self-isolate for 14 days. The HSE continues to prioritise testing with healthcare workers and inpatients in acute hospitals."

Ms Canavan said concerns have been raised in relation to "rent-a-room" or digs accommodation being exempt from recent measures prohibiting evictions for the duration of the pandemic.

She said: "We're looking into this further and I will update you when I have more information on that. However, in the meantime Government would ask landlords and tenants in more informal accommodation arrangements, such as these, to show allegiance and support for each other during this critical emergency period.

"And, where possible with regards to precautions necessary to tackle Covid-19, to avoid ending their current accommodation arrangements."