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Cross-border workers potentially ‘at risk’ over lack of communication between health services - Senator McCallion

18 September, 2020

Sinn Féin Seanad Health spokesperson, Senator Elisha McCallion, has raised concerns for cross-border workers over a lack of communication between the HSE and the HSC in terms of contact tracing when cross-border workers test positive for Covid-19.

Senator McCallion has written to the Health Minister Stephen Donnelly for clarity on the issue.

Senator McCallion said:

“It has come to my attention that protocols for cross-border workers who test positive for Covid-19, and their employers, have not been communicated clearly on both sides of the border.

“Employers have found that when they contact the relevant  agency for information on how to proceed with contact tracing for an employee who lives in the South but works in the North, they haven't received a satisfactory response.

“It is vital that employees and employers are made aware of the exact protocols that should be followed in this situation, so I have written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly asking for the protocols to be made clear and communicated accordingly. I have also highlighted this issue with my colleague Colm Gildernew, who will be pursuing the issue with the Health Minister in the North.

“As we all know, this virus does not recognise borders, therefore our strategy must be the suppression of the virus in the workplace on an all-island basis.

“Many people cross the border for work every single day, so the only way for us to be able to live with the virus is if we deliver a testing and tracing system on an all-island basis that is fit for purpose.

“Testing, contact tracing and so forth must be carried out seamlessly through fully cooperative efforts.”

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