We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Officials making the announcement this evening.

Covid-19 in Northern Ireland: HSE seeking to trace passengers seated near patient on Dublin flight

The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland confirmed the news this evening.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Feb 2020

A PERSON HAS been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Northern Ireland. 

It is the first confirmed case on the island of Ireland.

The Public Health Agency confirmed the news this evening. 

It’s understood the person travelled from northern Italy to Dublin, and travelled onto Northern Ireland. Health authorities here said this evening that the HSE will seek to contact anyone who sat within two rows of the affected person on the plane. 

Over 100 people have so far been tested in the Republic of Ireland, and no case of coronavirus has been confirmed. 

The Public Healthy Agency said the person diagnosed wasn’t on a school trip. The gender of the person also wasn’t confirmed.

Authorities said they are working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, with the aim of preventing further spread.

Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: “We have been planning for the first positive case in Northern Ireland and have made clear that it was a question of when not if.

We have robust infection control measures in place which enable us to respond immediately. Our health service is used to managing infections and would assure the public that we are prepared.
Our advice to the public remains the same. Members of the public who have visited affected regions and have symptoms are advised to self-isolate at home and contact their GP in the first instance. Advice will then be given on next steps, including testing if required.

In a statement this evening, Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “Given the evolving situation this first case of COVID-19 disease was not unexpected. The National Public Health Emergency Team has been planning for this scenario since January.”

The general public should continue to adhere to the public health protocols issued by the Department of Health.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Dept of Health, said: “The HSE is well-prepared and is working to inform any contacts the patient had in order to prevent transmission.”

“COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.

“Close contact involves either face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person. The risk of transmission through casual contact is low.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood urged people in the North to remain calm and continue to keep hospital appointments in line with medical advice.

He said: “First of all, I want to thank the health service professionals at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast who are currently working very hard to assess and treat the patient who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus.”

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel