Defence Force staff set up a tented field hospital beside the Naval patrol ship, LE William Butler Yeats, yesterday (sun) in preparation for use as a Covid-19 testing centre writes Lorna Siggins
A marquee was erected beside the ship in Galway docks, similar to arrangements made for the Health Service Executive in Dublin and Cork.
The LÉ Samuel Beckett has already been deployed to Dublin and the LÉ Eithne to Cork city, with all three cities having riverside berths.
Naval service experience of testing for infectious illnesses during migrant rescue in the Mediterranean influenced the decision to make ships available as support to the HSE.
The Defence Forces Press Office said the ships were deployed “to generate extra capacity for the HSE.
It has confirmed one ship has been kept for fisheries protection surveillance, but fishing fleets are already beginning to tie up in response to a dramatic slump in seafood demand and closure of international markets.
As thousands of people took to the outdoors in the west yesterday (sun), a drone flying over Galway’s Salthill promenade urged walkers to observe social distancing guidelines to avoid Covid-19 infection.
Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív expressed concern yesterday (sun) that social distancing was not being observed by visitors to the west coast.
“Disturbing reports from Achill of people travelling to the area, failing to observe social distancing and putting local people at risk. I’ve heard similar reports from Connemara. I would appeal to people-respect local communities and keep your distance-that includes when in shops and outside,”Mr Ó Cuív said in a statement on social media.
The drone flying over Salthill yesterday (sun) relayed a recording urging people to keep two metres apart.
However, the aerial device was not clearly identified, and some walkers were mystified.
Galway City Council said it had not commissioned a drone. Several other State bodies, including the Defence Forces and Civil Defence, also said they had not deployed it.
Drones have been used in China for a range of Covid-19 responses, from warning people to wear masks and observe quarantine curfews to lighting the construction sites for purpose built hospitals after the outbreak late last year.
Spanish police also deployed drones in Madrid to issue public health warnings and appeal to people to return home from public places after a state of emergency was declared.
Galway City Council issued an “urgent” call before the weekend to the public to obey social distancing, and installed stencils on the Promenade depicting two metre distances for walkers.
The Leave No Trace campaign has issued guidelines for walkers, including observing the two-metre distance and avoiding both peak times and difficult routes on uplands. It has also urged walkers to take their rubbish home.