Border communities on the frontline in battle against Covid-19

Anomalies affecting cross-border workers and travel arrangements need to be cleared up

Border communities on the frontline in battle against Covid-19

renewed calls for a more unified approach to dealing with Covid-19 on a cross-border basis

New measures introduced last night to tackle the ongoing Covid-19 situation needed to be extended to the whole island, it has been claimed.

In a statement today, (Saturday), the Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) group welcomed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's new tougher restrictions to deal with the Covid 19 situation but argued a number of anomalies affecting isolation measures, the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment and travel rules affecting cross-border workers still needed to be addressed.

"Once again border communities are again in the frontline when it comes to being caught between to differing jurisdictions, and their different approach to an issue, which currently is a global pandemic.

"Never in our lifetime have we faced such an invisible threat to our community and to the lives of our loved ones.

"The devastating loss of life which we are witnessing in Italy and Spain in particular is heart-breaking.

"While in the face of such devastation the UK’s approach to Covid-19 has shifted from Herd Immunity to one now of utter confusion.

"The UK is making no effort to control the spread of the virus, ignoring the strong advice from the World Health Organisations experts to test, test, test, and no effort in contact tracing.

"It's only in recent days that our heroes’, frontline health workers will be able to avail of the test.

"BCAB has highlighted on our social media that for example Randox technology is making tests for Covid-19 in huge quantities, but the North's health minister has not ordered any.

"It’s shocking that those who are in charge of Government departments failed to act, instead chose to ignore WHO advice, but listened to advice which was selective so that the UK’s approach could be different from the rest of the EU.

"There are many local companies, especially in the plastics industry, clothing, and other precision engineering who could have been called upon in time to manufacture the necessary life saving equipment and protective equipment which the health service's need, why was this not done?

"The latest measures from An Taoiseach are welcome. We would however like to highlight the necessity to extend these across the island, for example the 2km limit for leaving your home stops at the border, the advice on whether to stay at home in the case of Covid-19 infection is 14 days on one side of the Border and seven on the other.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

"In addition to this many thousands of border residents are facing financial hardship, for example if you work in the South, but live in the North you cannot access the Government's Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week.

"This is really unfair, those worker’s pay tax, they should benefit from the tax system, just because you live in another county in Ireland, this should not prevent you from getting this payment."

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