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Debunked: No, council staff have not been banned from entering a flats complex in Dublin because of Covid

The claim, which is being shared in a voice memo on WhatsApp, is not true.

Oliver Bond flats.
Oliver Bond flats.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

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A MESSAGE BEING widely shared on WhatsApp has claimed that Dublin City Council staff have been ordered not to enter a flats complex because of an outbreak of Covid-19. 

The twenty-one-second voice memo is now under investigation by DCC.

In it, a man states that he has been instructed not to enter the Oliver Bond flats in Dublin’s south inner city because the virus is “rampant”. He says that the virus is also prevalent in a number of other city centre locations. 

The message in full says: “We’re after being instructed not to go into Oliver Bond to work because of the outbreaks all around the area: Thomas Street, Oliver Bond, the Coombe. It’s rampant. Everyone of you take care. I’d say there’s going to be…. it’s all on those stupid ***** who had that party. I’d say it’s going to be spreading like ***k now.”

A text message accompanying the voice memo specifies that it was referring to DCC staff. 

A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council confirmed to TheJournal.ie that “no such instruction” has been issued to staff members and that DCC will be investigating the contents of the voice note. 

The statement reads: “Dublin City Council has definitely not given such an instruction. The feed on the social media item in question will be fully investigated.”

The text message also claimed that all pubs in the Dublin 8 and Dublin 2 areas are to be closed as of Thursday 3 September but at the NPHET briefing on Wednesday evening no recommendations of the sort were made. 

Speaking at the NPHET briefing on Wednesday night, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn cited a number of areas in Dublin seeing an increase in cases, but did not mention the south inner city.

“We are seeing a consistently high number of cases in Dublin west, Dublin north-west, and Dublin north central. So, the north city centre, and then the north-west out towards Blanchardstown and Dublin west so Clondalkin, and out in that direction.

Glynn also said that Dublin has accounted for 45% of cases overall in the last 14 days, and noted that it was “not surprising” given the size of the population of the county.

“We are asking people in particular, not just in these areas and not just in Dublin, but given that Dublin is more populous, given that people typically have more daily contacts in Dublin, it’s not surprising that we’re seeing increasing cases. But we do need people to take particular care in Dublin over the coming days, we don’t want to see this continue.”

DCC is the second State body to launch an investigation into voice messages which have been shared on social media. 

Last month, we revealed how the Defence Forces attempted to track down the sender of a clip which was to become infamous in Ireland.

That one was sent in March of this year at the outset of the pandemic and claimed that the army was going to be patrolling the streets to make sure people were staying inside and observing lockdown protocols. 

The Defence Forces carried out an investigation into the message but could not track down the original sender. 

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There is a lot of false news and scaremongering being spread in Ireland at the moment about coronavirus. Here are some practical ways for you to assess whether the messages that you’re seeing – especially on WhatsApp – are true or not.

STOP, THINK AND CHECK

Look at where it’s coming from. Is it someone you know? Do they have a source for the information (e.g. the HSE website) or are they just saying that the information comes from someone they know? A lot of the false news being spread right now is from people claiming that messages from ‘a friend’ of theirs. Have a look yourself – do a quick Google search and see if the information is being reported elsewhere. 

Secondly, get the whole story, not just a headline. A lot of these messages have got vague information (“all the doctors at this hospital are panicking”) and don’t mention specific details. This is often – but not always a sign – that it may not be accurate. 

Finally, see how you feel after reading it. A lot of these false messages are designed to make people feel panicked. They’re deliberately manipulating your feelings to make you more likely to share it. If you feel panicked after reading something, check it out and see if it really is true.

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here

Have you gotten a message on WhatsApp or Facebook or Twitter about coronavirus that you’re not sure about and want us to check it out? Message or mail us and we’ll look into debunking it. WhatsApp: 085 221 4696 or Email: answers@thejournal.ie

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