Gardaí to deploy full-time public order unit; Health workers ask people not to throw Paddy's Day parties

Gardaí are setting up a full-time public order unit to patrol at risk locations and to ensure the maintenance of law and order.

The unit will be comprised of 100 Gardaí, sergeants and inspectors, working a two-rota system of 12-hour shifts.

The force hopes to have them deployed by tomorrow afternoon.

Criminologist, Dr Matt Bowden, says states have undertaken extra measures before to safeguard public order.

"It's not completely without historical precedent, societies have had to deal with outbreaks of viruses and diseases, Black Deaths and plagues and various other things.

It's hardly surprising that the State power takes extraordinary measures to deal with potential problems that might arise.

Meanwhile, health professionals are urging people to stay at home as they celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Dr Jack Lambert, the head of the national isolation unit at the Mater Hospital has issued a call to the public not to have parties today for St Patrick’s Day.

Just by being in the same room as someone who has the virus, but is asymptomatic, would increase the spread of the virus, he warned.

It could be done as simply as using a door handle that has been touched by an infected person.

There could be hundreds more people who are infected but have not been tested, he said.

Everyone who has any kind of a cough should be tested and go into self isolation to prevent onward spread, he urged.

Dr Lambert paid tribute to health care workers, but warned that in other countries it had been found that high percentages of health care workers had been tested positive for the virus which put vulnerable patients at risk.

    Useful information
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