Thursday, 21 May 2020
Covid-19 (Health): Statements
Alan Kelly (Tipperary, Labour)
It is endorsed by the National Public Health Emergency Team, NPHET. Page 4 of the National Interim Guidelines for Public Health management of contacts of cases of Covid-19 seems to be updated to reflect this. We need clarity where there is confusion. The Minister only became aware of the advice this week and perhaps nobody else asked the question. This is NPHET's advice. There cannot be two conflicting rules. I referenced George Orwell earlier and I will not do so again.
The Minister only found out about the advice this week and it is from NPHET, although it has come a circuitous route, with the Oireachtas getting advice from another individual. How is it that this was socialised to everybody else only this week?
Was risk not being created across all communities by the fact that this had not been socialised beforehand? How are people meant to operate in shops and factories? People can only spend two hours in the same space within 24 hours. Otherwise, they will create close contacts, and if anyone gets infected, everyone will have to isolate for 14 days. Take my local shop as an example. It did not have a clue about this. If anyone working there got infected, the shop would have to close. Viability is the key issue. If NPHET was aware of this situation, why was the public health information not socialised before now? It has huge ramifications.
Who initiated the request for advice following concerns about Oireachtas sittings? I accept the public health advice - that is not the issue. Who initiated the conversation between the Oireachtas and the Department of Health regarding the first sitting of the Special Committee on Covid-19 Response and people's concerns?