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Covid-19: Shutdown in force

Friday, 13th March, 2020 11:10am

 

Update - Monday morning

Restaurants and cafes could be the next industries to close following last night’s closure of all pubs, including bars inside hotels until 29 March.

Speaking on 'The Neil Prendeville Show’ on RedFM this morning, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney said cafes and restaurants could be asked to close as the country deals with the spread of Covid-19.

It comes as the Department of Health last night confirmed 40 new cases of the virus in Ireland.

23 males and 17 females are among the new cases with 25 associated with the east of the country, nine are associated with the west and six are associated with the south.

There have been two deaths associated with Covid-19 in Ireland and are now 169 confirmed cases of it in the Republic of Ireland.

The HSE is now working to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health said: "In regard to upcoming St Patrick's Day celebrations, the Government is calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private house or other venues which would put other peoples’ lives at risk." 

The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet today, 16 March, to continue its review of Ireland's ongoing preparedness to Covid-19.

Meanwhile CUH has reduced and rescheduled outpatient appointments from this morning, 16 March. However the following services will not be impacted and patients are to attend as per their appointments:

  • Dialysis
  • Dressing clinic
  • Warfarin clinic
  • Endoscopy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Infusions
  • Radiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Therapies: Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Dietetics, Speech and Language
  • All regional cancer centre appointments in the Glandore and Orchid Centre
  • EEG/EMG
  • Cardiology Diagnostics
  • Ophthalmology outpatients

All other appointments are being rescheduled, unless patients are directly contacted by the hospital to attend their scheduled appointment.

Surgeries will proceed as normal unless patients are contacted by the hospital and advised otherwise. Visiting restrictions remain throughout the hospital.

 

Cancelled

Darkness Into Light, the flagship annual fundraising event for suicide prevention charity Pieta, has been postponed until the autumn due the outbreak.

More than 250,000 people were expected to come together in the pre-dawn hours of 9 May in almost 20 countries worldwide, but the charity has taken the decision to postpone the event until autumn.

CEO Elaine Austin said: “While the decision to postpone this year’s event was difficult, the safety of local committees, fundraisers and the thousands of people who gather together to participate in Darkness Into Light is our highest priority. The event will indeed take place, but at a more appropriate time when the threat of the coronavirus has passed. We are assessing an autumn date and will confirm this as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Cork International Choral Festival has also been cancelled.  The Board of the Cork International Choral Festival said it is very conscious that this decision will impact more than 5,000 choir members who would have been participating in the festival, 800 of whom were travelling from abroad. 

"These choirs have been involved in a year long process of planning and preparation with the festival, and we are particularly conscious of the large financial implications for the  foreign choristers who were travelling to the festival from Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden and USA," said the board.

 

Earlier - Friday

Blarney Stone 

For the first time in history, kissing the Blarney Stone has been suspended for the foreseeable future. After discussions this morning, the decision was made to suspend the world-famous practice of getting the 'gift of the gab'. 

 

Cork City Council

Distancing protocols are being observed at City Hall as the public offices remain open but access is limited to the civic offices.

Members of the public have been asked where possible to contact its customer service unit on 021-4924000 or at corkcity.ie.

A response team, formed at senior level in Cork City Council, has been meeting around coronavirus preparedness for nearly three weeks and is holding daily meetings. A business continuity plan was signed off at this morning’s meeting.

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr John Sheehan said: “Each and every one of us has a role to play during this time, both in term of our hand hygiene and preventative measures such as distancing. I would encourage everybody to follow the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team. It's also important that we look out for each other during this time, especially vulnerable members of our community such as the elderly.”

The following buildings are closed until 30 March:

  • All branches of Cork City Council libraries
  • Cork City and County Archives
  • Cork Public Museum at Fitzgerald’s Park
  • St Peters on North Main Street
  • Elizabeth Fort

Decade of Centenaries events have been deferred too.

 

GoBus services suspended

As of Monday 16 March GoBus.ie will suspend all services until further notice.

Managing Director Jim Burke said: “The cancellation of services has been done as a precaution for the welfare of our team and passengers, and to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.”

 

Restrictions at Mercy University Hospital

Between now and 29 March, Mercy University Hospital has instigated severe reductions in activity. All out-patients appointments are cancelled with effect from Monday 16 March as is all elective surgeries.

All day case procedures, inclusive of endoscopic and pain procedures are being cancelled with effect from Monday too. There will be exceptions to the situation above to address critical needs. In such cases patients will be contacted directly by the hospital and provided with appointment details.

Management are usring the public not to attend the hospital unless you are contacted by the hospital and provided with a specific appointment.

 

Garda response 

An Garda Síochána is putting in place a number of measures to maximise our operational availability and support other vital public services including:

  • A contingency roster will go into effect from Monday 16 March.
  • Annual leave for personnel will be restricted to no more than five per cent of a divisional workforce at any given time with effect from today, 13 March.
  • 325 garda students in the Garda College will be attested as garda members next week and allocated to garda stations nationally in the coming weeks.
  • Garda members working as tutors/instructors in the garda college will be deployed to operational duties or essential training services.
  • Training in the Garda College will be deferred until further notice expect for specialist training activity like firearms, driver, armed support.
  • In order to enhance community support, 210 additional vehicles have been hired.
  • Members of An Garda Síochána who were scheduled to avail of the severance package on 1 April 2020 have been invited to defer their retirement for three months.

Driving tests

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has suspended driving tests until 29 March.

Those who have a driving test scheduled during this period will have the test rescheduled free of charge and we will be directly in contact with candidates in the coming days. Where there are exceptional circumstances eg. emergency and essential service drivers, needing a driving test, they will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate these customers.

Trócaire

Trócaire has taken the decision to cancel all public outreach activities in Cork and nationwide during the development agency’s Lenten Appeal.

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said: "Each year, our teams travel all over Ireland throughout Lent to deliver talks, exhibitions and other events aimed at highlighting our campaign and raising the funds needed to help millions of people around the world. This is a vital time of year for Trócaire’s fundraising, but the safety of our supporters, volunteers and staff comes first. In light of the risk posed by Covid-19, we believe it is the responsible decision to cancel these events this year."

The charity has also taken a number of other steps to help in the fight to stop the spread of the virus, including cancelling all but essential travel from Ireland to our programmes overseas.

 

Cork County Council

Cork Motor Tax Office is also closed but the online service, motortax.ie, will continue to operate, as will the postal service at Motor Tax Postal, Model Business Park, Model Farm Road, Cork. Queries will also continue to be taken by phone at 021-4544566 or by email at motortax@corkcoco.ie.

Cork County Council Payments Office in Mallow, Clonakilty and Cork County Hall will be open while access to other services will be restricted to appointment only with effect from Monday 16 March. Over 120 council services can be accessed online and Cork County Council is asking members of the public to avail of these services in the interests of public health. 

 

Closed until further notice:
Reardens Bar, Washington Street
Liberty Grill, Washington Street
Voodoo Rooms, Oliver Plunkett Street
Chambers, Washington Street

Cork City FC
All footballing activities have been suspended until 29 March and as a result, today’s planned game against Bohemians has been postponed. Further details around this and other fixtures will be confirmed in due course.

Youth Film Festival
All First Cut! Youth Film Festival 2020 screenings and events scheduled to take place today and tomorrow, 14 March have been cancelled.

An Post
Post offices will remain open and postal service will operate as normal.

Flowers of Hope
The Cope Foundation has made the decision to cancel the Flowers of Hope Collection Day that was due to go ahead today, 13 March, as well as all other Flowers of Hope fundraising events.

Catholic Church
All non-essential pastoral gatherings and meetings, such as formation gatherings, retreats and seminars are cancelled. All confirmations are postponed until further notice. Attendance at funeral services and masses should be limited to close relatives and must not exceed 100 attendees within the church building. Similarly, church weddings and baptisms may be celebrated on condition that the attendance in church does not exceed 100 people.

Tourist attractions closed include:
•    Camden Fort Meagher
•    Spike Island
•    Kinsale Museum
•    Youghal Lighthouse
•    Youghal Clock Gate Tower
•    Cobh Heritage Centre
•    St Mary’s Collegiate Church
•    Bridgetown Abbey, Castletownroche
•    Mallow Castle
•    Michael Collins House
•    Dursey Island Cable Car
•    Skibbereen Heritage Centre
 
Council operated pools are closed:
•    Mallow
•    Fermoy
•    Dunmanway

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