42% rise in Covid-19 Direct Provision cases since last week 6 months ago

42% rise in Covid-19 Direct Provision cases since last week

There were no new confirmed clusters of the virus in that time.

It was confirmed tonight that as of midnight last Saturday that there were 88 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Direct Provision centres across the Republic of Ireland, an increase of 26 since the last publication of figures.

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There are no new confirmed clusters of the virus, 9 are confirmed in the country, while in total 10 or 11 people have been hospitalised, none in the past week. The figure given at last week's briefing was 11, while 10 were reported tonight. JOE has sought clarification on this number.

One of these clusters is located in the Skellig Star Hotel in Cahersiveen, where over 20 cases were reported last week.

Speaking to JOE, Justice Spokesperson for the Green Party Roderic O'Gorman said that Ireland is not fulfilling their legal obligations to these residents; "there are still 1,700 people sleeping in rooms of 2 or 3 with people who aren't their family members, so they're not family groupings.

"So those people are unable to practise social distancing, and in that way Ireland is failing in our human rights obligations under international law, and under European law, to those individuals."

When asked whether he felt that these residents had "fallen between the cracks" of a number of government departments, O'Gorman said "I think they have".

There are over 6,000 people living in Direct Provision in Ireland, where living circumstances, such as communal eating spaces and multi-person sleeping areas, are not conducive to the required physical distancing recommended by the HSE.

"If you have an outbreak here, if one person contracts it, it is almost inevitable that it will move swiftly around the residents because of their living conditions, because it is so difficult to socially distance", said O'Gorman.

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Mr. O'Gorman, a newly elected TD for Dublin West, said that the situation in Direct Provision showed similar failings to what we have seen to date in the state's response to the Covid-19 pandemic in nursing homes; "I think in just the same way, and there's a lot to praise in the overall state response to Covid-19, but just in the same way as what's happened in the nursing homes has shown a real vulnerability, has shown a failure to plan in that particular area.

"I think we are now seeing with these quite significant clusters in Direct Provision centres that there was a failure to adequately plan for how outbreaks in these centres would be managed."

At tonight's briefing, 37 new deaths from Covid-19 were reported, with notification of 265 new confirmed cases of the virus here in the Republic of Ireland.

The briefing was more heated than previous daily press conferences, when a microphone had to be turned off multiple times to allow Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan answer a question posed by a woman present. She gave her name as 'Jemima Burke from the Western News', a local nationalist publication that existed in Galway in the 19th century.