Coronavirus crisis a 'once in a century health challenge', says Doherty

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Coronavirus crisis a 'once in a century health challenge', says Doherty
Coronavirus crisis a 'once in a century health challenge', says Doherty

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty has described the coronavirus crisis as “a once in a century health challenge.”

Ms Doherty told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that by close of business on Friday, 283,000 people had applied for the Covid-19 emergency income payment from the Department of Social Protection.

The Minister added that 16,000 plus companies had applied for the wage subsidy scheme.

“Lots of people thankfully are using income support.”

However, Ms Doherty pointed out that a lot of those people would not have thought about income support because they were not on the restricted list until Friday night.

“We expect to have a significant draw again this week based on the companies that have closed down.”

Ms Doherty encouraged companies to look at the wage subsidy scheme and try to keep as many employees on their books as they possibly can.

Employers who have been affected or think they will be affected by a 25% decline in turnover are being asked to self declare to the Revenue Commissioners, she said.

“Reaching that 25% isn’t going to be a difficulty because in some or all cases, their business has all but ceased.”

Ms Doherty also said that what we are doing, in terms of social distancing, is working and that that “should make us do it twice as hard”.

On Newstalk Breakfast, Ms Doherty urged people to ensure their details were correct on any forms that they have completed.

When asked about government formation talks, she said that the crisis meant that the new government would need a working majority to pass legislation. The outgoing government has tried “to think of everything” in the two pieces of legislation last week.

“We will have to deal with whatever comes up with the tools in our kit.”

    Useful information

  • 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;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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