October 20, 2020
Breakdown in tracing system ‘extremely concerning’ – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has described as “extremely concerning” a report by the Irish Times tonight that between 2,000 and 2,500 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 will be sent a text message tomorrow asking them to tell inform their close contacts to seek a test for Covid-19.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“The report tonight by the Irish Times that up to 2,500 people will be asked to contact their own close contacts represents a fundamental breakdown in the tracing system. The system is overwhelmed and this is a direct result of rising cases and underinvestment. It is extremely concerning.

“Sinn Féin have been calling for some time for an enhanced tracing system and for additional tracers to be recruited. There are constant reports coming from tracers about staff being overworked and a lack of training. Such reports have been met by denial from government.

“The government promised 1,200 additional tracing staff recently and that target has not been achieved. They have not in fact, spelled out how many tracers have been recruited – despite being repeatedly asked for this information.

“The time for talking and for promises by the Minister for Health is over. This is a serious situation that has happened on his watch.

“As workers, families and businesses face into weeks of level 5 restrictions, we cannot waste the next number of weeks. The Minister must deliver additional capacity.”

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