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Coronavirus: Seven new cases confirmed in Ireland including first community transmission

This brings the number of confirmed cases in the Republic up to 13.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Updated Mar 5th 2020, 10:50 PM

THE DEPARTMENT OF Health has confirmed this evening that another seven cases, including the first community transmission, of Covid-19 have been diagnosed in the Republic of Ireland.

This brings the number of confirmed cases in the Republic up to 13. Three cases have also been detected in the North. 

Four of the seven new cases – males in the east of the country – are travel-related from Northern Italy. 

Two are associated with close contact with a confirmed case. These are two females in the west of the country. 

One case of community transmission – a male in the south – is associated with Cork University Hospital and a risk assessment is underway.

“The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread,” the Department of Health said in a statement this evening. 

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said:

“Ireland remains in containment phase with just one case of community transmission. This is, however, a rapidly evolving situation. Public health doctors are working hard to ensure our containment measures are operating effectively.

“Most people who become infected with Covid-19 experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for some.

“However, this will need a national effort. Every individual needs to be aware of how to protect their own health and the health of others.”

Speaking at this evening’s press briefing, Dr Holohan said he is not alarmed by the increase in cases.

Other than the case in Cork, the HSE can explain how each case occurred, according to Holohan. He added that the case of community transmission cannot be explained.

On Saturday night, the first case here was announced – a student at a Dublin school. The school in question was ordered to close for two weeks as a result.

On Tuesday evening, a case was confirmed in a woman in the east of the country.

Yesterday, four people from the west of the country were confirmed to have been diagnosed with Covid-19. This led to the closure of two schools in Clare.

One of the four cases in the west was detected in a healthcare professional. 

Globally, there are now a total of 95,265 reported cases of Covid-19, and 3,281 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Italy – the country worst affected by Covid-19 in Europe – has ordered schools and universities shut until 15 March, and today reported a sharp rise in coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 148.

Dr Holohan said that a travel ban to Northern Italy is not being considered at present, and the Department has no plans to introduce travel bans to any regions.  

Cork University Hospital

In a statement from Cork University Hospital earlier this evening, it said that strict visitor restrictions had been introduced with immediate effect due to “infection control concerns”.

It also said that all outpatient appointments have been cancelled tomorrow.

“This is in the interest of patient care and in order to prevent the spread of infections within the hospital,” the hospital said. 

“All infection control measures are in place and every effort is being made to manage and contain the spread of infection.”

In an updated statement, it clarified: “All Outpatient appointments have been cancelled in Cork University Hospital tomorrow (Friday 6 March) due to Infection Control issues.

“All patients will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Cork University Hospital apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to patients.”

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

HSE advice

The HSE’s main advice page outlines that the risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is still low to moderate. It says “this may change, however, most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual”. 

Anyone who knows they have been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days and has symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, fever) should:

  • Isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room, with a phone
  • Phone their GP, or emergency department – if this is not possible, phone 112, or 999
  • In a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

Close contact means either:

  • Face-to-face contact
  • Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person
  • Living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

The Department of Health outlines that anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and the four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days and is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP. 

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 to show. 

More details on how to protect yourself from Covid-19 are available on the HSE website

With reporting by Cónal Thomas and Sean Murray

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