18 March 2020
By Bryan Smyth
O’Sullivan calls for Coronavirus information messaging service
Opt-in service could provide up to date information straight to people’s phones
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West Christopher O’Sullivan has called for a national information service to deliver up to date information on the Coronavirus directly to people’s phones.
He says more action is needed to combat the spread of fake and misleading WhatsApp messages which have been circulating over the past number of days.
Deputy O’Sullivan said, “People are understandably worried given the current uncertainty and the spread of these scare stories are not helping the situation. Singapore has established an update service for its citizens; they simply sign themselves up to a government WhatsApp group which sends them the most up to date information on COVID 19 every day.
“I think a similar service should be set up here. Some of the information which has been circulating over recent days has been unhelpful and inaccurate and is increasing fear, particularly among older people. If we could ensure that people were receiving reliable, accurate information it could vastly improve compliance with hand and cough hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation.
“The service could not only provide the latest figures on cases, it would also encourage people to take the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread the virus. While this information is easily available on the HSE website, sending it directly to people’s phones could act as a reminder to the general public to stay safe by keeping apart.
“These are very difficult times and any measures which could help contain the virus, keep people informed with the latest information, and encourage them to keep taking the precautions necessary to limit the spread, should be considered”,