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Statutory agencies in the Cork and Kerry region have thanked the people for their work on stopping the spread of Covid-19 as the counties enter a crucial phase in the fight against the virus.

As we enter the Easter long weekend, representatives of the HSE, an Garda Siochana, Cork County Council, Cork City Council and Kerry County Council have appealed to everyone in Cork and Kerry to continue their Trojan efforts.

All the agencies have been working together to co-ordinate the community response to the crisis, and this weekend praised the people of Cork and Kerry for everything they have done so far.

Ger Reaney, the Chief Officer of Cork Kerry Community Healthcare said that the collective efforts of communities across Cork and Kerry are clearly making a difference, but added that it is crucial that everyone keeps up those efforts over the bank holiday weekend.

“Your efforts now will save lives and will help to reduce the pressure on the health system at a time when it faces an unprecedented challenge. We understand that Easter is usually a time when families and friends come together, and it’s going to be particularly hard this weekend to stay apart. The message is clear – the effort everybody is making is helping to keep our communities, especially vulnerable people and healthcare workers safe, and  although we know that it’s difficult we need to keep that effort going for another while ,” he said.

Representatives of an Garda Siochána warned that there will be a very visible Garda presence across the counties in the next few days, making sure that no one is travelling more than 2kms from home without a valid reason.

Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said:

“Operation Fanacht will see an extensive network of checkpoints established in Cork and Kerry, and across the country to ensure public compliance with the travel restrictions introduced recently as part of COVID-19 public health guidelines. The Operation will run until Monday night, April 13. This significant policing operation is designed to support travel restrictions put in place to help flatten the curve and save lives.  There has been very good compliance with the travel restrictions and we want to thank the public for this. However, it is vital that this continues over the coming days and over the weekend. This will save lives.

“In particular, we would ask people who are thinking of travelling to parks, tourist locations or holiday homes outside of the 2km limit, not to do so. If you are stopped at a checkpoint, you will be turned back.”

In an effort to deter people from travelling more than 2kms from their home for exercise, Cork County Council has shut car parks at many beaches.

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Councillor Ian Doyle, urged people not to allow everyone’s hard work to be negated over this long weekend.

“While Easter is traditionally a time for celebrating in the company of family and friends, this year, like in so many aspects of our lives, we must do things differently. This Easter many of us will be separated from our families and loved ones. I know this is hard but we need to remember we are doing this to protect the vulnerable in our communities and to help those at the front lines of our health service. We have all been working together and making significant sacrifices to slow the spread of Covid-19. I urge everyone to stay the course. Let’s not allow this hard work be undone over the bank holiday weekend.”

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. John Sheehan said:

“Our frontline workers are going above and beyond to help stop the spread of Covid-19.  The greatest way we can show our support for them is to continue to follow the advice – stay at home.  It’s a small sacrifice we can make to ensure we can flatten the curve.  I’m confident in the strong community spirit of the Cork and Kerry people, so this weekend, let’s keep it going.  We can defeat this together by staying apart.”

Chief Executive of Kerry County Council, Moira Murrell reminded the public the Kerry Community Response Helpline would continue to be available to people over the Easter Weekend.

“Kerry County Council is reiterating its appeal to the people of Kerry to stay at home and to save lives. We never thought we would have to close public buildings, close beach car parks, ask people not to visit Kerry and appeal to people not to visit playgrounds and other amenities “

“I am asking everyone not to be tempted to breach the guidelines and the travel restrictions over the weekend. Everyone has a critical part to play in this crucial phase of the battle against this virus,” she said.

One of the results of the co-operation between the agencies is the Community Coordination helplines which are now in operation across the region. These helplines involve many community organisations and volunteers, and can assist people who need additional support to adhere to the cocooning guidelines.

The helplines for this region are:

Finally, all agencies reminded the people of Cork and Kerry of the simple but very effective steps we all must take each and every day. They include:

  • Staying at home as much as possible, and only leaving when essential.
  • Remaining within 2kms of your home for your daily exercise.
  • Washing your hands properly and often.
  • Reducing the number of people you met and interact with each day.
  • If you do need to leave your home, keeping at least two metres away from other people.
  • Catching your coughs and sneezes
  • Regularly cleaning surfaces.

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