Regional Group of TDs call for review of face masks but HSE say it is not a Covid-19 priority

Regional Group of TDs call for review of face masks but HSE say it is not a Covid-19 priority

Updated: The HSE has said it is not recommending people wear face masks to prevent the spread of Covid 19 despite growing attention and debate on the issue.

Other countries, like the US, have told people to cover their faces as the number of cases rises.

Dr Breda Smyth from the HSE has said, however, that is not the advice here.

"What is important for the public is to wash their hands and not to reduce their appetite for washing their hands. This is the best way to break the chain of transmission."

Despite the HSE position the The Regional Group of Independents said that on reviewing the evolving medical evidence regarding modes of transmission of coronavirus, it was asking government and the National Public Health Emergency Team to immediately consider initiatives for cloth faced coverings to be worn in public and work areas.

In a statement the group said that while it was critical that the public continued to observe two meter social distancing, it felt more proactive and proven measures to prevent cough and sneeze droplet spread were now also required.

It read: "Simple cloth face coverings can slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

"The Regional Group of independents believe Cloth face coverings fashioned from common materials as being done in other countries at present can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure and that the present ‘Community Call’ initiative announced by government could immediately take a leading role here in providing mask templates and designs for people to copy and manufacture at home or in small businesses.

"We believe cloth masks may well offer a solution also in coming weeks to allow some numbers of people rejoin work activity while continuing to observe social distance and hygiene protection measures.

"We would emphasise that these clothes masks are not the respirators or ventilator type that are used to protect health care workers and these important mask protectors must be reserved for our frontline healthcare workers and medical first responders who are at most serious risk.

"We have no doubt that the continuing community participation of the Irish people in observing COVID-19 quarantine measures can be directed to provide significant impetus for community manufacture and delivery of this extra protection measure and we would ask government to approve a supporting initiative as soon as possible to energize and deliver this initiative."

The Independent Wexford TD Verona Murphy has joined a Regional technical group of fellow Independents, saying it will allow her the best possibility of getting speaking time in the Dáil.

'The Regional Group' is a technical group is made up of Independent Wexford TD Verona Murphy, Waterford Independent TD Matt Shanahan, Galway East TD Sean Canney, Galway West TD Noel Grealish, Roscommon/Galway TD Denis Naughten, Cathal Berry representing Kildare South, Peter Fitzpatrick representing Dundalk, Michael Lowry representing Tipperary and Peader Toibín from Meath West.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats Co-Leader is calling on the government to bring Irish experts together to produce Personal Protective Equipment.

Deputy Roisin Shortall believes Ireland has the facilities to make the equipment to protect frontline healthcare workers.

Regional Group of TDs call for review of face masks but HSE say it is not a Covid-19 priority

She said pharmaceutical companies could also make re-agent, which is used to test for the coronavirus and is in short supply.

"Surely with so many pharma companies in this country we should be able to produce it here in Ireland."

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