(embargo 0700 Monday June 15th 2020)

General Practitioners call on public to use face coverings when shopping & on public transport

Doctors issue reminder that people with even mild symptoms must self-isolate and contact their GP for testing as soon as practicable

Those who are not registered with a GP are encouraged to do so now

The Irish College of General Practitioners has urged the public to use face coverings when out shopping and using public transport.

The call comes as the level of COVID-19 in the community continues to remain low, but is not fully eliminated, and as the country gradually re-opens to business and social life.

Dr Nuala O’Connor,  ICGP Clinical Lead on COVID-19 & Infection Control, said:

“We are recommending that as people start moving out more, that they wear face coverings on public transport and in retail settings. While full scientific evidence is not yet available on the efficacy of face coverings, we are encouraging people to use them when possible, as they are another barrier against transmission of the virus.  They do not replace the measures we know with greater certainty stop the virus spreading  – 2m social distancing , practicing good hand hygiene and cough etiquette.  However, we also ask  the public to familiarise themselves with the HPSC’s advice on the proper use and wearing of face coverings. See www.hpsc.ie”

Dr O’Connor advised that people take immediate action if they have even mild symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, mild fever or dry throat. 

Dr O’Connor added: “If you are feeling even mildly unwell, our advice is to stay at home and self-isolate. Please phone your GP as soon as you can to arrange a COVID-19 test, and please be conscious of any vulnerable people in your household.” 

Dr Mary Favier, President of the ICGP said: “It is our personal behaviours that will ensure we do not have a second wave of this highly infectious virus. Please do remember to wash your hands and maintain the two-metre social distance when out and about.”

People who are not registered with a General Practitioner in their area are advised to do so now. These include people who have recently arrived in this country or have moved to a new area.

Dr Favier added: “We know from the early stages of this pandemic that there are a lot of people not registered with a local GP. It is free to do so – all it takes is a Google search and a phone call.  Being registered means that if someone does get symptoms they have a GP to contact to arrange a test and get advice over the phone. It is vital that we have those systems in place to prepare for the winter.”

Media interviews available on request.

ISSUED BY: Aileen O’Meara, Communications Consultant ICGP

Tel. 01 2542984 / 087 2239830 Email: media@icgp.ie Twitter: @ICGPnews