People Before Profit Statement On Covid-19 Crisis

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In addition to the measures and recommendations made by the government today in relation to school and college closures, social distancing and mass gatherings, People Before Profit is calling on the government to implement the following measures:

  1. All responses to the current health emergency must be 32 County and recognise that people’s lives cross the border on a daily basis. The Northern Executive must now act immediately to introduce similar emergency measures to the South.  It makes no sense to have two different policies on the Island. The threat of Covid-19 exists in Derry as it does in Donegal. Furthermore, the work of public health bodies across the island must be integrated to deal with the crisis. Stormont and the Dáil should create an emergency committee to coordinate containment and response across Ireland. 
  2. An immediate requisitioning of all private healthcare facilities that would be suitable for use by our public health service.
  3. Establish emergency health care workers recruitment drive. 
  4. Increase numbers of people involved in contact tracing to allow for the most comprehensive tracing possible.
  5. Bring all private lab and R&D capacity into public control to enhance diagnostics.
  6. Increasing testing to the levels that are being implemented in South Korea and Singapore and establish drive-thru testing centres.
  7. Both governments, North and South, should establish an Emergency Relief Fund to fund all emergency measures.
  8. No workers should be out of pocket for self isolation. The new legislation must provide for workers who do not have a sick cert to qualify for payments.  There should be a procedure of self certification for those with symptoms.
  9. The proposed new €305 payment should also be immediately available to those who lose their job or are temporarily laid off as a result of the health emergency. In the North the executive must introduce similar payments to low-paid workers, the sick and pensioners. 
  10. The legislation required to make these changes should be introduced to the Dáil and extra sittings scheduled if necessary to ensure all stages are completed with amendments. Extra sittings of Stormont should also be arranged to facilitate any needed legislative changes. 
  11. Rent and Mortgage freezes for all those struggling financially as a result of Health Emergency with no charges to accrue and an end to evictions for those who run into arrears as a result of this crisis.
  12. Develop an Elderly and Vulnerable People strategy that includes access to pension and SW payments for people who normally collect at social protection or post offices; enough high quality PPE for home care workers and more time for each visit so the home care workers can change PPE; regular testing of these workers; increasing meals on wheels.
  13. Ensure no cutting off of Gas, Electricity or WiFi for any homes where people are experiencing hardship as a result of the crisis.
  14. End the charges for contactless payments to reduce the exchange of cash.
  15. Establish deep cleaning of buses, trains, trams, planes and public transport hubs each evening.
  16. Provide free public transport to limit exchange of money between drivers, ticket staff and the public.
  17. The government should ensure mass production of PPE and sanitiser and introduce strict measures to prevent price gouging on all essential items for the duration of the emergency. 
  18. Ensure free health treatment and hospital charges for those affected.
  19. Suspend intellectual property rules in relation to development of vaccinations and antivirals.
  20. Ensure a 24/7 helpline with enough experienced staff and make this number widely available. Ensure timely updates of the Coronavirus page at www.hse.ie
  21. Government must immediately establish a two-way information, briefing and consultation hotline for all political parties and elected representatives and genuine all party collaboration on important decisions in relation to the crisis and to share all expert advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team, the NHS, Expert Advisory Group and the WHO.