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'We are equal to this challenge' - Micheál Martin hails 'inspirational' medical response to coronavirus

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said that "every aspect" of both the public and private sector will come under pressure as the country fights back against the outbreak of Covid-19.

Mr Martin said that while everybody will have to play their part to contain the virus, he is confident that Ireland's "love for community" will come through.

He was speaking as the HSE is asking people who have normal cold and flu like symptoms to self-isolate and to ring their GP tomorrow.

They are asking them not to call 112 or 999 as those numbers are for medical emergencies only.

“The Covid-19 virus represents an unprecedented challenge to our country," Mr Martin said.

Every aspect of our public service and private sector will come under extraordinary pressure and every citizen in every community will be required to play their part.

“I have no doubt in my mind that we are equal to this challenge," he added.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

The HSE say a new electronic processes is being worked on and it is hoped it will be ready from tomorrow.

This would allow GPs to more easily order testing for patients if needed.

“The manner in which our entire medical community has come together in the face of this threat has been inspirational," the Fianna Fáil leader said.

"Their energy, innovation, commitment and fearless approach to protecting our people is something to behold," he added, emphasising the need to listen to the advice of health professionals and to protect the most vulnerable in society.

[ul][b]Useful information[/b] [li]The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here [/li] [li]Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;[/li] [li]GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.[/li] [li]ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024[/li] [/ul]