Intensive work is under way to develop a new mobile Covid-19 app to facilitate symptom tracking and contact tracing, the Government has confirmed.
The app will reportedly use bluetooth data to detect if confirmed cases are in or have been in close contact with each other.
In a Government briefing on Tuesday, Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, said that work is ongoing between the Department of Health, the HSE, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and other technical expertise in the public service.
She said: “As part of the national response to Covid-19, work is under way to develop a new mobile Covid-19 app for real-time symptom tracking and digital contact tracing.
“The implementation timeline will be determined by the technical progress and result of intensive testing that is currently taking place.”
A number of countries across the world have set up similar apps to help trace the spread of coronavirus.
It was also confirmed at the Government briefing on Covid-19 that some marts are now allowed to facilitate the sale of animals.
Where employers are in a position to fully respect HSE guidelines, it may be possible for mart owners to use their systems & facilities to assist with trade that would support the orderly sale of animals necessary to support the essential business of farming.@agriculture_ie— MerrionStreet.ie #StayAtHome (@merrionstreet) March 31, 2020
Marts were closed last week over fears of the spread of coronavirus.
Ms Canavan said that some mart services are considered essential and can operate at a reduce service.
She explained: “Where an employer is able to fully respect HSE guidelines it may be possible for mart owners to use their systems and facilities to assist with trade that would support the orderly sale of animals necessary to support the essential business of farming.
“This includes where the movement of animals is essential in particular to maintain the food supply chain and protect the health and welfare of animals.”
It also emerged that almost 26,000 employers have registered for the temporary wage subsidy scheme with Revenue paying out some 22 million euro.
Following consultation with the National Transport Authority, the Government confirmed that shared bike schemes in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick will continue to operate.
An analysis of people using the bikes shows that they are regularly used by hospital and other essential workers.
“Assurances have also been given in relation to the cleaning and maintenance of bikes and the National Transport Authority is happy the service should remain operational for now,” Ms Canavan added.
It was also confirmed that the HSE will publish further details on funerals during the health crisis.
I can confirm that immediate family members can still attend funeral services and cremations provided that social distancing rules are respectedLiz Canavan
Further restrictions on the number of people attending funerals may come into force.
Ms Canavan continued: “The Government wants to be sure that families can bury their loved one in a respectful manner while ensuring that all involved mourners, funeral directors, celebrants and all those involved are protected from Covid-19.
“I can confirm that immediate family members can still attend funeral services and cremations provided that social distancing rules are respected.
“While we know this is difficult, in general numbers attending should not exceed 10 persons in places of worship and at the graveside but this may be restricted further in small enclosed spaces.”