Deputy Martin Browne: called for better communications to help stop Covid-19 outbreak rumours
Following a number of rumours in Tipperary about outbreaks of Covid-19, Deputy Martin Browne has called on the HSE to revive its channels of communication with local representatives and the public.
"Information is an effective weapon when it comes to the fight against the Covid-19 virus. The Minister for Health, the HSE and the Minister for Education need to continue to bear that in mind," he said.
“The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in County Tipperary recently are concerning for us all. But, when the number of new cases enters the public arena, and no further information is forthcoming, we are all left guessing," said the Sinn Féin TD.
Pointing out that it is said that nature abhors a vacuum, in the same way, a lack of information can lead to assumptions being made and rumours, without foundation, being spread, he said.
“These rumours can spread misinformation and can damage an effective response to the virus. They can be damaging to businesses who have reported no cases of Covid-19, and suddenly these businesses see trade plummet. These rumours can also be damaging to people who are getting on with their own lives," said Deputy Browne.
He said that these were just some of the reasons why he had called on the HSE to be more forthcoming and immediate with information.
“Consideration should also be given to publishing more geographical data to allow people to make more informed personal decisions – but not to an extent that would allow the targeting of areas or individuals," he said.
And as children return to school, Deputy Browne said that the Education Minister also needed to improve her communication skills.
"She needs to assure families that schools are getting all the resources they need and respond clearly to the concerns of parents and families.
“I welcome the clear guidance that has been issued by many of our schools, but the Minister for Education in the same way as the Minister for Health needs to be open and transparent about her plans, and must stop the drip-feed of information that only damages public confidence," he said.