Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that “one of the most frustrating aspects of the Covid-19 Crisis is the fact that the government is only using a fraction of the available capacity to fight the virus”.

He also said that despite the scale of the crisis in health and the economy, the HSE  undertaken no modelling or forecasting of the pressure and need in the future.

“I have learned that only 2% of the available Contact Tracers in the country were employed to contact trace on Tuesday this week. Of the near 2,000 people specifically trained to contact trace only 40 people were actively contact tracing on Tuesday. This figure is not an outlier, it is representative of the daily utilisation,” he said.

“Last week I learned that of the 72,000 people who had applied to Ireland’s Call to help at the front line of this crisis only 51 people were employed by the HSE to do just that. This was a much publicised initiative to harness the solidarity and goodwill of the Irish people all over the world to fight this threat. Yet only a tiny fraction were put to work,” Deputy Tóibín said.

He said that some fewer 40,000 tests are being carried out in the state a week than was promised by Minister Simon Harris in mid March. “Daily testing remains below current capacity even after the criteria for testing has been broadened. Some testing centres have been closed and many staff trained to test have not tested for weeks,” he said.

“We also know that there are 1,400 idle hospital beds in the system currently, this despite widespread cancellations of procedures and Hospital Avoidance,” he continued.

“What makes this so frustrating is the scale of the crisis in Health and the Economy. There is a complete mi match of action and of need. There is a complete mismatch between capacity utilisation and the depth of the crisis. Nearly 2,000 people have died from Covid-19 across Ireland north and south. Hospital waiting lists are mushrooming. Patients with serious cardiac, stroke and cancer issues are avoiding diagnosis and treatment which will lead to widespread difficulties in the future.”

“Shockingly the HSE has undertaken no modelling or forecasting of the pressure and need in the future. The government has stated that they are making their decisions on the basis of best medical evidence. This is untrue. They have not even tried to measure the future cost on health of their actions, the Meath West TD said.

“Over 1 million people are now on some level of state support. Thousands of businesses are teetering at the edge of existence and the state is taking on tens of billions of euro on debt every few months. The radical nature of the crisis demands a radical response. It demands that we sweat every ounce of our capacity. Citizens don’t need a false sense of security in this battle. They need to know that absolutely everything is been done”.