Over-70s must stay indoors even if they are fit and active, the Assistant Secretary-General at the Department of the Taoiseach has said.
Speaking at a Government briefing in Dublin on Wednesday, Liz Canavan said: “We know many people over 70 are fit, well and active. Nevertheless the chief medical officer’s advice is that you should stay at home.
"We appreciate how frustrating this is but the reason the CMO [Chief Medical Officer] has made that recommendation is based on what we know about the impact of the disease.”
Ms Canavan also warned of an increase in Covid-19 related frauds and scams.
“We’re anticipating that fraudsters may attempt to pose as Government, banks or other organisations to ask for financial details to process payments,” she said.
“Don’t be rushed, take your time to do relevant checks and always support immediate suspicious activity to banks or gardai.”
She said as today is April Fools’ Day people should only heed messages and advice from official sources.
It was also announced that SNAs are to be re-deployed across the rest of the public sector to help frontline staff dealing with coronavirus.
Staff not required for education or research purposes will be available for reassignment elsewhere.
A process has been set up through the PublicJobs.ie website to put this in place.
There are around 16,000 special needs assistants in Ireland, but it is expected the number reassigned will be much smaller.
Meanwhile, Ms Canavan said a number of applications for the pandemic unemployment payment “have not progressed to payment due to missing or incorrect information”.
Ms Canavan added that a new podcast to help young people cope with anxiety is being launched during the Covid-19 emergency.
She said: “Understandably, the risks and reality of the global pandemic have probably been at the forefront of everyone’s mind. For that reason, it’s particularly important to take the necessary steps to look out for our mental health at this time.
“We’re very conscious that parents, children, young people may be anxious about the disease and about the disruption to their own routine, even school and all the other activities, they’d like to be involved in.
“No age group is immune to the stress caused by this crisis.
“So in order to address this fear and anxiety in young people in particular, a podcast has been created with the systems of the National Education Psychology Service (NEPS) which offers a series of relaxation techniques, specifically designed to help young people cope with that anxiety, and that’s available via SoundCloud.”