SIPTU has voiced alarm about the number of healthcare workers testing positive for Covid-19, and has called for regular testing of all health staff.

According to the Department of Health, staff on the front line of delivering care account for over a quarter - 26% - of all cases identified in the Republic.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser Paul Bell noted that 63% of these cases were not related to travel, and that the median age for those infected was 45.

He said members had reported to the union that Personal Protective Equipment was not readily available to all health workers in the quantities required, and called on the Government to treat this issue as a high priority.

He claimed some hospital departments were now telling SIPTU representatives that stock rooms have no PPE left and that health workers were resorting to re-using equipment normally only fit for single use.

He described this situation as "entirely unacceptable".

He also urged the Government to urgently review its approach regarding regular Covid-19 testing of all health workers.

He said: "In other health services such as those in South Korea and Hong Kong, the coronavirus has been more effectively contained with the frequent testing of all health workers through a dedicated monitoring system.

"This can ensure that the virus does not spread more widely and that the maximum number of health workers are available for duty 100% of the time."