The coronavirus neither recognises nor respects borders, meaning an all-Ireland approach to combating the illness is required, according to Galway West Sinn Féin TD, Mairead Farrell.
The number of coronavirus cases in Ireland stands at 50 - 34 in the Republic and 16 in Northern Ireland, at the time of going to press, representing 0.001 per cent of the entire population. Both the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, and Dr Gerry Waldron, head of Health Protection for Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency, have said the number of infected can be expected to rise, and that Ireland as a whole is still in the containment phase.
Dep Farrell is calling for the North/South Ministerial Council to convene a meeting in relation to coronavirus, and to help co-ordinate the response to it, as an "all-island approach to the issue is vital".
While a meeting of the North's Joint Head of Government, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister Harris, and Stormont Health Minister, Robin Swann of the Ulster Unionist Party, "was a positive development", according to Dep Farrell, "more was needed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak".
She said: "It is essential that public health authorities north and south work closely together in the coming days, weeks, and months to co-operate and communicate effectively in order to deal with this health emergency. Infections don’t recognise barriers or borders and neither should our approach."