Coronavirus: Volunteers in Ireland rally to help vulnerable people in self-isolation

On Thursday night, Ireland announced the closure of all schools and universities as the country battles to stop the spread of Covid-19

Matt Mathers
Friday 13 March 2020 13:21 GMT
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Volunteers in Ireland have rallied on social media to provide support for the most vulnerable as the government ramps up plans to battle the spread of Covid-19.

Thousands of Good Samaritans took to Twitter using the hashtag #Selfisolationhelp to offer assistance and run errands such as grocery shopping for those asked to self-isolate.

Samantha Kelly, a social media strategist, started the hashtag on Tuesday. It has now been shared over 10,000 times.

“I sent the tweet thinking that maybe the people in self-isolation could talk to each other, and then I suggested the hashtag and putting the town or city in the hashtag, and it went from there,” Ms kelly told The Times.

“There was so much negativity and I wanted to do something useful. This is about people feeling like they are not on their own, and that there are people out there who do want to help.”

Paddy Costello, a 32-year-old scientist living and working in Dublin, told the Independent he heard about the hashtag from a colleague at work.

Having lost a close friend to cystic fibrosis, Paddy said he’s lucky not to have any underlying health issues and therefore feels able to help.

“I understand that I’m fortunate enough to be able to help others,” he explained.

“Where I can I’d be happy to walk pets, run errands, collect medicines and prescriptions and go to the shops for folks who need it”.

Earlier this week Ireland’s Health Service Exective (HSE) said that those who recognisable symptoms of coronavirus may have to stay indoors.

HSE also asked those experiencing symptoms to avoid contact with other people if told to do so. It also advised that family, friends or delivery drivers can leave food or supplies outside the person’s door.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 70 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland and one death.

Last night, Ireland announced that it is shutting schools, universities and childcare facilities to delay the spread of the virus.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also confirmed that all indoor gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor events involving more than 500 would be cancelled.

Speaking from Washington, Mr Varadkar said: “We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory and the country is in uncharted territory.

“Together we can slow the virus in its tracks and push it back. Acting together, as one nation, we can save many lives.”

The move is in stark contrast to the way in which the UK is handling the pandemic.

On Thursday evening Boris Johnson told a press conference that the Covid-19 outbreak was the worst public health crisis for a generation.

The prime minister warned that “many more” people would die and called on the public to stay indoors and spend time with loved ones.

However, he did not announce any plans for a mass cancellation of sporting events in the UK.

Denmark and Italy have also been placed on lock down as Europe attempts to stop the spread of the novel virus.

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