'Ring a relative': Stay in contact but respect social distancing says Simon Harris

'Ring a relative': Stay in contact but respect social distancing says Simon Harris
Health Minister Simon Harris has encouraged the public to ring friends and relatives. File picture.

Update: 12:41

'Ring a relative': Stay in contact but respect social distancing says Simon Harris

Minister for Health, Simon Harris has encouraged the public to stay in contact with friends and relatives but respect social distancing rules.

In a message on social media, Health Minister Simon Harris urged people to keep their distance:

"Pick up the phone and ring a relative," the Minister for Health said, "ring your mom, your dad, your granny, your grandad."

Mr Harris added: "Just because we can't be physically close to each other, it does not mean we can't keep in touch."

I'm also from hearing from people around the country that lots of people are now baking and cooking food and leaving it on neighbour's doors

"I'm not very good at cooking, but maybe you are, so if you have a few minutes today perhaps do that and leave a meal on someone's door so they know you are looking out for them," Mr Harris said.

Another 126 people tested positive for coronavirus in the Republic yesterday, bringing the total to 683.

As of Wednesday, half of the cases are in Dublin - while Monaghan is the only county that is yet to have a diagnosis of Covid-19.

Dr Sarah Doyle urges people to supervise children when outside and be responsible. File picture.
Dr Sarah Doyle urges people to supervise children when outside and be responsible. File picture.

Earlier

'Keep safe, keep sane': Dr Sarah Doyle cautions public to observe social distancing

The HSE continues to urge people to keep their social distance if they are leaving the house this weekend.

126 new coronavirus cases were confirmed yesterday, bringing the total in the Republic to 683.

More than a third of people who have tested positive so far are under 34 and over half are in Dublin.

Dr Sarah Doyle, consultant in Public Health Medicine with the HSE, says people need to observe social distancing this weekend.

"My own feeling is that I think it is really important that people can get out for a walk, or you know get outside, get out and do some gardening," she said.

"Just everybody knows it is keeping your distance .... supervise the children, go out and maybe in twos and threes, make sure you keep your distance," she said.

Keep safe, keep sane.

Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation

Social distancing doesn't have to mean social isolation, according to a mental health expert.

People are being encouraged to get out of the house this weekend, but in the midst of a pandemic, to use common sense when it comes to their interactions with others.

Psychologist Mark Smyth says keeping a distance from loved ones for a long period will be a challenge, so it's important to manage that.

Mr Smyth said: "Rather than leave things to chance, we need to arrange and schedule opportunities where we can socially connect with others."

So for our kids arranging virtual play dates on whatsapp where there are times where they can all join in on video chats.

"But think tomorrow again for Mother's day, to arrange a time to phone or video chat with mums or grandmothers so that they know that it is coming," he said.

Earlier

'Use a bit of common sense here': Simon Harris warns over social distancing this weekend

Simon Harris has asked the public to show 'common sense' when leaving home this weekend. File picture.
Simon Harris has asked the public to show "common sense" when leaving home this weekend. File picture.

People are being encouraged to have "common sense" when leaving home this weekend.

The Health Minister said yesterday he is nowhere near satisfied with social distancing efforts in the country.

Despite being told to get out for a time over today or tomorrow - Simon Harris says that does not mean congregating in big groups.

He said: "When you decide you are going to go for a walk with the kids, go for a walk with the kids but observe social distancing."

Don't go for a walk and bring five other kids with you and all get into a packed public park.

"So we have to use a bit of common sense here," he finished.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has urged people to “confront families, peers, and communities” if they are not taking rigorous social distancing seriously, which if done properly, will save “thousands” of lives.

Both ministers' public statements followed news that a further 126 new cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday — a fall from the 191 new cases announced on Thursday — which brings the total to 683 cases in the Republic.

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