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Over 20,000 people contact HSE in response to government call-out for healthcare workers

It comes as the government warned that it expects a 30% increase in the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Ireland every day.

Image: Shutterstock/Derick Hudson

OVER 20,000 PEOPLE have contacted the HSE after the government launched a recruitment drive for health workers to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, Health Minister Simon Harris said today. 

On Tuesday, the government said that every newly graduated doctor will be offered an internship, with well over 1,000 people looking for one this year.

Harris also announced a nurses recruitment call throughout Ireland with the message “your country needs you”.

It comes as the government warned that it expects a 30% increase in the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Ireland every day.

Last night saw a further 69 cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, bringing to 292 the total number of cases here.

Meanwhile, the European Union has agreed to impose travel restrictions on most non-EU nationals entering Europe for at least 30 days to limit the spread of the virus.

Since the drive for healthcare workers launched, a number of people have posted on social media to say they are travelling from their GP and nursing jobs abroad to fly home to help. 

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said his wife Roisin was returning to nursing after 12 years while Amanda Phelan, Professor of Ageing & Community Nursing at Trinity College Dublin has volunteered to help out. 

Defence Force members, meanwhile, are currently being trained in contact tracing by HSE staff. 

Earlier today, Newstalk presenter Ciara Kelly announced she had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

As Kelly has previously practised as a GP, she said that when she is better she plans to put her stethoscope back on, as being an ‘immune doctor’ is something useful now.

On Tuesday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that 15,000 virus cases were expected here by the end of the month, but that most wouldn’t need treatment. He also warned of the threat to the economy and said there could be up to 100,000 jobs lost in the coming weeks. 

“We will hire everybody that we can to work in the Irish health service,” said Harris earlier this week, appealing to retired healthcare professionals and students to apply.

He made a special plea to Irish healthcare workers abroad, to those working part-time and to medical students, saying “we need you”. 

Harris said that contact was being made with private hospitals to increase capacity in the health system, as well as the government ordering the opening of more ICU beds.

On retired healthcare workers who were being asked to return to work who may be potentially at risk from the virus, the minister said the HSE will have to assess an upper age limit for people. 

Speaking today, Harris said that over 24,000 people had contacted the HSE in response to the call-out. 

“Ireland, I love you!” he said. “What an amazing national effort. Thank you so much. Let’s keep at it.”

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