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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020
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15 suspected cases of coronavirus in Ireland, but no confirmed cases

The HSE said that good cough and sneeze hygiene, with regular hand washing, is the best way to keep well.

Image: Shutterstock/Applepy

THE HSE HAS said that there have been 15 suspected cases of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) tested in the National Virus Reference Laboratory since Monday, but as of yet there have been no confirmations.

There had been some indications at the weekend and earlier in the week that testing for the coronavirus had been taking place, but up till now the HSE has responded to all media queries saying that there is still no confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland.

The HSE is now at a point that once it identifies a possible case, it is able to diagnose a person within 24-36 hours. 

Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, said; “The event of a confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland is possible, given the increase in cases we are seeing internationally.

“Ireland has comprehensive Public Health and Emergency Plans in place and is prepared for the event of a confirmed case, should one arise.”

Dr Vida Hamilton National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Hospitals, HSE said that 3,000 personal protection packs have been issued to GPs and clinics around the country.

Coronavirus is spread through contact and droplets so good cough and sneeze hygiene, with regular hand washing, is the best way to keep well.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to show. Symptoms may include: a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, or a fever (high temperature).

Yesterday, HSE officials said “You are extremely unlikely to catch novel coronavirus from someone in Ireland,” but added that “health professionals will contact anyone who has been in close contact with the infected person to advise them”.

Yesterday, a third person in England tested positive for the virus, but “did not acquire the coronavirus in the UK,” according to the health officials there. 

Last Friday, three Irish citizens began a two-week-long quarantine in a Liverpool hospital after being evacuated alongside UK citizens from the coronavirus hit city of Wuhan, China.

The global death toll from the virus has now risen to 565, with the number of confirmed cases rising to 28,273.

To assist with the work to help control the spread of the coronavirus, the Irish government this week allocated €500,000 to the World Health Organisation. 

The WHO has requested around €610 million in funding from world nations to combat the spread of the novel virus.

- with reporting from Adam Daly

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