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Dublin to Belfast trains sanitised as 'precautionary measure' after Covid-19 case confirmed in Northern Ireland

It’s not yet clear if the woman in question travelled from Dublin to Belfast via train.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/Derick Hudson

THE ENTERPRISE FLEET of trains that services the Dublin to Belfast route has been sanitised as a “precautionary measure” after a case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Northern Ireland.

It is not yet clear if the woman in question travelled from Dublin to Belfast via train, and authorities have said they will not comment on the type of public transport she used after leaving Dublin Airport.

The woman recently returned from Italy, which has seen the worst Covid-19 outbreak in Europe. After displaying symptoms, she reported her concerns to a GP and “self-isolated” at home for the result of the test.

Irish Rail spokesperson Barry Kenny said: “We’ve had no confirmation at this time that the person travelled by Enterprise, but both Iarnród Éireann and Translink undertook a sanitising clean of the Enterprise fleet as a precautionary measure overnight.”

Kenny said Irish Rail is “working internally on contingencies in the event of cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, or on our services and in our workplaces, and will engage and be guided by the relevant health and other government agencies – including liaising with the NTA and other transport operators – to inform decisions while the Covid-19 issue continues”.

He added that Irish Rail customers and staff should also “follow the guidance of the HSE at all times”.

Making contact with people 

At a press briefing in Dublin this morning, Dr John Cuddihy, HSE director of public health, said only a “small number” of people who were in “close contact” with the woman on the plane and public transport on which she travelled have been contacted and given appropriate advice; other passengers who were not in close contact have also been contacted.

“Anyone who needs to be contacted has been,” Cuddihy said.

People who were in “close contact” with her have been advised to self-isolate and they are being monitored daily by public health doctors. No testing will take place unless they show symptoms.

Also at the briefing, Dr Tony Holohan, the Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, said Irish authorities are “working with Northern Irish authorities to do the appropriate follow-up”.

The case in Northern Ireland, he said, doesn’t change Ireland’s “extensive preparedness plans”.

Holohan said it’s “likely” that a case or cases will happen in the Republic of Ireland, stating: “Infectious diseases do not respect borders.”

Dr Ronan Glynn added that “it wouldn’t be a surprise to us if there were further cases in the days to come, but again that won’t change our containment strategy”. 

He said if a person comes back from a high-risk areas and has symptoms, they should contact their GP, self-isolate and follow the advice from the health services. 

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Órla Ryan

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