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Covid-19: Public who travelled between Dublin and Belfast on public transport 'need not be concerned'

Northern Ireland’s Minister for Health Robin Swann said this is ‘at an advanced stage of completion’.

Norther Ireland's Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride.
Norther Ireland's Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride.
Image: PA Images

NORTHERN IRELAND’S PUBLIC Health Agency (PHA) has said it has contacted those who “came into closest contact” with the individual who tested positive for Covid-19. 

Yesterday evening it was confirmed that there had been a diagnosis of Covid-19 in the case of a person who had travelled from northern Italy to Dublin and then onto Northern Ireland.   

The individual is known to be a woman and she is currently receiving specialist health care. 

In an update this evening, the Public Health Agency’s Dr Jillian Johnston said contact tracing has now been completed. 

She added: “All stages of the individual’s journey were identified and those who came into closest contact have been traced and contacted with public health advice and guidance.”

I would emphasise that members of the public who have travelled between Dublin and Belfast using public transport need not be concerned. 

Earlier today, the Department of Health in Dublin said that all persons identified as a close contact of the patient have been contacted and been given advice from healthcare professionals.

At a press briefing this morning, Dr John Cuddihy, HSE director of public health said that this included people at “all stages of the journey”.

“In this particular case, all stages of the journey have been identified and the contract tracing has been completed so anybody who needs to be contacted has been contacted and given appropriate advice. So if someone hasn’t been contacted there’s no reason for them to be concerned,” he said.

A spokesperson for Northern Ireland’s Public Health Agency told TheJournal.ie this evening that it is concerned with matters north of the border but continues to work closely with authorities in the south. 

It has not been confirmed if the woman in question travelled from Dublin to Belfast via train but Irish Rail told TheJournal.ie today that both Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland’s Translink ”undertook a sanitising clean of the Enterprise fleet as a precautionary measure overnight”. 

The woman had travelled to Dublin from Italy on an Aer Lingus flight and the company said it in a statement that it is “co-operating fully with the HSE in relation to the Covid19 developments”. 


Northern Ireland’s Minister for Health Robin Swann said this afternoon that ”in line with protocol”, yesterday’s positive test is being sent to a lab in England for verification. 

In a statement this afternoon, Swann said that the patient “is receiving appropriate specialist health care in keeping with expert advice and agreed procedures”.

“Robust infection control measures are in place to prevent possible further spread of the virus,” he added.

As of today, 83 396 cases of Covid-19 have been reported. China is by far the country worst affected. Globally 2,858 deaths have been reported, according to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. 2,789 of those have been in China.

According to the most extensive study done so far, the novel coronavirus was benign in 80.9% of cases, “serious” in 13.8% and “critical” in 4.7%. The remaining 0.6% was not specified.

Part of the reason Covid-19 has been declared a public health emergency is due to the speed at which it has spread compared to other coronaviruses (like Sars and Mers) and the fact that there’s a lot about the disease we still don’t know – including how exactly it’s being transmitted.

“We would like to reiterate the effective measures we all can take to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Like seasonal flu, the same public health advice applies for COVID-19 – if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands,” Johnston said in Public Health Agency’s update this evening. 

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Contact with a case 

If you think you have been in contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus this is the advice from the HSE: 

Phone HSELive on 1850 24 1850 if you think you have been:

  • in contact with someone confirmed as having coronavirus
  • to a healthcare facility in another country where coronavirus patients are being treated.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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