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Four new cases of Covid-19 coronavirus confirmed in Republic of Ireland

It’s understood the four patients are from the same family.

LAST UPDATE | 4 Mar 2020

FOUR NEW CASES of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland this evening, the Department of Health has confirmed. 

This brings the total of confirmed cases in the Republic to six. 

The four new patients – two males and two females from the west of Ireland – are all associated with travel from the same affected area in Northern Italy, the Department confirmed. 

It’s understood the four patients are from the same family. The four individuals are being cared for in a hospital in the west of the country currently. 

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: “Tonight we can confirm there are now six cases of Covid-19 in Ireland. Contact tracing is underway for these four new cases.”

Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: “There is still no evidence of widespread or sustained community transmission in Ireland, as seen in some other EU countries.

“While we now have six confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, we continue our containment efforts, central to which is that the public know what to do in the event they have symptoms.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday issued new advice that non-essential travel to four Italian regions should now be avoided. 

The advice against travelling refers to the Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna regions in northern Italy. 

Speaking to RTÉ News tonight, Dr Holohan said that the four new cases are Ireland’s first “cluster” of Covid-19. 

“A cluster is a small number of cases that are linked to one another. In this case, they’re linked insofar as they travelled together from an affected area,” Dr Holohan said. 

He noted that given that it’s a cluster, “there are more potential contacts” involved and “more work for the public health doctors to do” in tracing those contacts.

“But our public health doctors are experts in this, they’ve been doing this since the beginning of this and in every situation where we’ve had a case,” he said. 

“We’re confident, even though the scale of the exercise is significant, that it will be successfully concluded by the public health team.” / YouTube

Meanwhile, two more cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Northern Ireland today, bringing the total number of cases in the North to three. 

“Testing of patients in Northern Ireland has resulted in two further presumptive positive results for coronavirus (Covid-19), bringing the total to three since testing began,” a Stormont Department of Health statement said. 

These test outcomes have been now sent to Public Health England laboratories for verification.

The Stormont Department said the two cases are not connected.

One of the individuals recently travelled from Northern Italy. The other had recent contact with a person elsewhere in the UK who has subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

Globally, over 90,000 cases and more than 3,100 deaths from Covid-19 have been confirmed, according to figures from the ECDC.

The DFA is also advising against non-essential travel to mainland China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Iran.

Latest HSE advice

The HSE’s main advice page on the coronavirus has been changed overnight to note the new case in the Republic. 

In a section detailing the risk of catching the virus, the latest advice says:

The risk of catching coronavirus in Ireland is still low. 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 as an infected person

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

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