Local authorities are assisting elderly and vulnerable people during Ireland’s “cocooning” plan to protect them from coronavirus over the next two weeks.
People over the age of 70, and others who are considered vulnerable to the disease, have been told to stay indoors until Sunday, April 12.
It forms part of the Government’s clampdown on movement to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, said that vulnerable people and those aged over 70 should stay at home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact.
In a government briefing on Covid-19 Ms Canavan said: “To facilitate cocooning measures, local authorities were advised by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to activate the framework for local authority community support.
Rescue flight - Wheels-up in Lima for 100+ Irish & family, work continues to get all remaining citizens home. Great job @dfatirl . Thanks to everyone for their patience. Pleased to also help people from 13 other EU countries, incl. urgent priority repatriations. #IrishinPeru pic.twitter.com/XcxsG2Wper— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) March 29, 2020
“Helplines and support structures were put in place over the weekend.
“A local authority community response forum will meet in each local authority area to co-ordinate and ramp up to help those to ensure all the vulnerable members of our communities affected by these new arrangements are appropriately supported to access food medicines and other needs you might have, including transport for medical appointments.”
Meanwhile, some 120 Irish citizens who were stranded in Peru will arrive back to Dublin on Monday afternoon.
The group, made up of tourists and students, left Peru on a specially chartered flight to London on Sunday.
The group will self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Last week a temporary wage subsidy scheme was introduced as part of the Government’s unprecedented financial aid package.
Under the scheme employers can keep staff on their payroll throughout the pandemic by funding 70% of an employee’s take home pay.
Some 20,500 employers have registered with revenue for the temporary wage subsidy scheme.
Payments worth over 5 million euro were paid into the bank accounts of the majority of employers today.
“Today revenue has generated further refunds under the scheme worth 8.6 million,” Ms Canavan added.
Over 283,000 payments related to these are being made this week.
The Government official also confirmed that staff working in homeless organisations are deemed essential workers.
Over 560 beds have been made available in Dublin, while “significant space” has also been secured in Cork and Galway.
The OPW (Office of Public Works) also reopened a number of sites which were temporarily closed last weekend.
These include St Enda’s Park, Dublin, Kilkenny Castle Park, The War Memorial, Dublin and Derrynane. Locals who live within a two kilometre radius are allowed to use these facilities.
Ms Canavan said that people over the age of 70 working in essential services can still work if they can do it remotely and away from other people.
“We are grateful and lucky to have our older citizens who are anxious to play their part and keep working,” she added.
“Generally speaking, we want everyone over 70 to stay at home and not leave.
“However, some common sense applies. If you’re over 70 and working in essential area, and you can do that remotely without coming into face-to-face contact with other people, or without touching surfaces that other people may have sneezed on, then you can continue to work.”