A respiratory doctor at a Dublin hospital has made a public appeal for donations of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Anne Marie McLaughlin, who works at St James’s Hospital, posted a video online in which she thanked people who have already donated PPE and said health staff are “extremely grateful”.
But she added they have “one more request”.
Hospital request pic.twitter.com/3muJ8IGB24— anne marie mclaughlin (@annemar06878147) April 19, 2020
She said: “In particular we are looking for gowns that our healthcare workers can wear when visiting patients.
“These gowns are long-sleeve gowns, and they are made of material which is impermeable to liquids.
“If you have such gowns available and you’re in a position to donate them, we would be most grateful.
“You can contact us through our email email@example.com.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Simon Harris has said he would like to see schools reopen for one day a week before the end of term this summer.
He said the move would provide “breathing space for families”, and help the mental health of children and parents.
Speaking to Sunday Independent, he said: “As a citizen in this country, I can’t wait to see my mum and dad again. I can’t wait to meet up with my brother and friends.
“These are the real and painful realities that all of us are facing in normal life, and we all want to know, when can we see our friends? When can we see our families? When can we hold our granny? When we can get back normal?
“I hear from kids who write to me on regular basis, they miss school. The novelty of kids having a few days off has long gone and the parents definitely miss them going to school.”
Asked about the plans that need to be in place in order to ease the current restrictions, Mr Harris said: “What happens between now and May 5 genuinely matters and without being repetitive, as we say this a lot, the lower we can get that number, the lower we can suppress the virus, the more ICU beds we can free up, the more we slow down the rate of growth, the more we see hospitalisations stabilise or fall.
“All of which is happening, which is a good sign, but the more of that we see the more options we have as a country.
“We all know that when we lift restrictions, the high likelihood is that the virus starts to grow again and what we have to make sure is that you have so little of the virus in the community – I call it living alongside the virus.
“Sadly people will get sick, sadly people will die, but we wouldn’t be a risk of our ICUs overwhelming, that’s the space we need to try and keep.
“Those are the things the medics will be advising us on.
“Public health will lead this, we are not going to deviate from it and take our foot of the pedal, but you have to consider, what are the biggest economic and social benefits that comply with public health, and there is work going on.
“I can tell you a few things that I would like to see, but I’ll be guided by the public health, I’d like to see a situation where our schools can come back or at least partially back.
“I think for the mental health and wellbeing of students and parents, imagine if children could go into school even one day a week and get the book, meet the teacher and got the homework for a week and, from a safe point of view, meet their friends and go home.
“That would provide breathing space for families.
“I’d like to see a situation where you could expand somewhat the areas in which people can go beyond their home.
“I am conscience that cocooning may remain a reality for quite a period of time, but is there a safe way that they can get out every now and then and take a walk, but I am not going to be making these decisions.”
On Saturday, the death toll linked to coronavirus increased by 41 in Ireland, bringing the total to 571.
The Department of Health also reported 778 newly-confirmed cases, bringing the total number since the outbreak began to 14,758.