Elderly farmers, health workers and other professionals must stay at home and work remotely if possible, Government officials are advising, as part of efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The formal advice for over 70s and other at-risk groups is to ’’cocoon’’ and avoid human contact and possible infected surfaces — and over 70s who are also ’’essential workers’’ have been told to stay home.
Department of Taoiseach assistant secretary general, Elizabeth Canavan, reiterated that these age groups are among the most at risk and should also heed the advice, even for work purposes.
"Generally speaking, we want everyone over 70 to stay at home and not leave. However, some common sense applies here. If you are over 70 working in an essential area and you can do that remotely, without coming in face-to-face contact with other people, or without touching surfaces that other people may have sneezed on, then you can continue to work — for example a healthcare professional doing teleconsultation from their home. This would also include the older farming community but again, they must be very careful about not coming into close contact with others."
Farmers and others advised to remain indoors should instead contact friends, family or emergency services for any help needed.
Ms Canavan added: “Older farmers should ring family members if they need help. If that’s not possible and the job is essential, please ring your local community support helpline (one in each local authority area) or the local garda station.”
Meanwhile, a number of parks and public spaces will be reopened. Following weekend closures, the OPW has reopened Doneraile Park in Cork, Castletown in Kildare, Kilkenny Castle Park, the War Memorial and St Enda’’s Park in Dublin, Derrynane in Kerry and Oldbridge in Meath.
It was also announced that local authority forums and special support groups will now meet to ramp up work to help ensure vulnerable members of communities are supported with food, medicines, including transport for medical appointments.
The council groups will target those who have been asked to ’’cocoon’’ and stay at home, including people aged over 70, those in residential settings or long term care and people who have serious medical conditions.
Ms Canavan added: “If a vulnerable person needs to make contact immediately they can contact the ALONE helpline at 0818 222024.”
Nonetheless, those who are still in need of emergency care for reasons besides Covid-19, have also been told they can still access emergency services.
“It’s important to say that we are keeping the rest of the health service going as well — cancer care, emergency departments, mental health services and all the rest of the acute care we provide will continue. If you need urgent or emergency care, if you have for example heart attack or stroke symptoms, go to the Emergency Department or call an ambulance,” added Ms Canavan.