A charity that helps older people has launched a national support helpline for people who have any coronavirus worries.
Alone has said that the helpline will be for older people who have "concerns or are facing difficulties" with regard to the Covid-19 outbreak.
27 new cases of the virus were confirmed today, bringing the
Alone said the new support line "is to complement the clinical advice and information being provided by the HSE through its website and helpline."
The organisation said that professional staff will be on hand to answer any queries relating to coronavirus "and give advice and reassurance where necessary."
Alone said it is working with the Department of Health and the HSE on a coordinated national response "to support older people who have concerns" or may be at risk for the virus.
The number to call is.
The phone line will be open from Monday to Friday, from 8am-8pm. The organisation said hours may be extended to meet any demand.
The charity advised that any older people who feel they may have symptoms of coronavirus, they should first contact a doctor by phone in line with HSE advice.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Practice cough and sneeze hygiene – covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
- Stay informed: keep up to date on latest Covid-19 information on www.hse.ie.
"The WHO advises us to be smart and inform ourselves about Covid-19 and to be kind and support one another," said Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone.
"This support line provides additional information supports for older people who may have concerns or support needs; it is led by our voluntary sector who provide invaluable work with communities; and is working as part of our co-ordinated national response to COVID-19.
"We are ramping up our response to Covid-19 to provide support to all older people nationwide working in collaboration with the Department of Health and the HSE.
"As the situation develops, as well as advice, information and emotional supports, we will ensure every older person will have access to food, medication, fuel, daily contact, and any other support that may be needed.
"We want to emphasise that these supports are free, and available to all older people, including those who have not previously used our services."
Any older person who needs advice or practical support is asked to phone the number.
Mr Moynihan added: "Where older people consider that they have Covid-19 symptoms and meet the criteria set out by the HSE their first point of contact should be to phone a doctor in line with HSE advice."
He said: "At the moment the risk of contracting coronavirus is low to moderate.
"In line with HSE advice older people should continue to carry out their daily activities as normal while taking the appropriate preventative measures, including regular washing of hands and practicing cough etiquette."
- The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999
"The outbreak of Covid-19 will pose additional challenges for older people who may already be vulnerable and particularly those who struggle with health difficulties, loneliness, and other issues," said Mr Moynihan.
"To the friends and family of older people who may have concerns, we are encouraging them to continue to support older people in the community as they have always done, while ensuring they are taking the same protective measures."