There has been some debate over the last 48 hours regarding Cocooning as to whether it is Mandatory or Advisory and the advice of the HSE is replicated in the paragraphs below.

The GSRMA feel that it is worth pointing out to our members that we should all follow good sound advice from recognised sources such as the HSE, Government Information Services and An Garda Síochána and NOT rely on anonymous and unattributed social media posts etc…

Whilst every person has their own personal responsibility to look after your own health, it is worth stating that the HSE are STRONGLY ADVISING people over 70 years of age and those with serious underlying medical conditions, which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, to rigorously follow cocooning measures in order to keep themselves safe.

HSE Advice follows :

This guidance is for people over 70 years of age, those who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely medically vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support or in long term residential facilities.

Cocooning is a measure to protect people who are over 70 years of age or those who are extremely medically vulnerable by minimising all interaction between them and others.

We are strongly advising people over 70 years of age and those with serious underlying medical conditions (as listed below) which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow cocooning measures in order to keep themselves safe.

What do we mean by extremely medically vulnerable?
1. People aged ≥ 70 years
2. Solid organ transplant recipients
3. People with specific cancers: a. people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer b. people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment c. people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer d. people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors e. people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
4. People with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
5. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
6. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
7. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

Cocooning is for your personal protection and if you are unsure whether or not you fall into one of the categories of extremely medically vulnerable people listed above, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

Mick Lernihan
General Secretary
17th April 2020