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McDonald postponing meetings and staying close to home after Covid-19 case confirmed at children's school

The first case of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland was confirmed in a male patient in Dublin on Saturday night.

Mary Lou McDonald
Mary Lou McDonald
Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

SINN FÉIN LEADER Mary Lou McDonald said she was postponing meetings and staying close to home with her children after a coronavirus case was confirmed at their school.

The first case of Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland was confirmed in a male patient in the eastern part of the country on Saturday night. 

The male diagnosed with Covid-19 is a pupil from Scoil Chaitríona in Glasnevin, Dublin 9. He is currently receiving medical treatment. 

The decision to close the school was announced yesterday evening. Health officials have contacted the school and the principal, staff and parents of pupils of this school have been notified.

Health officials have contacted the school and its principal, staff and parents of pupils have been notified.

This was the second case of the virus on the island of Ireland after a woman was confirmed on Thursday to have been diagnosed with the virus in the North. 

In a video message this afternoon, McDonald said that her “children’s school is closed for the next fortnight because of a confirmed case of the coronavirus”.

“We’re following all of the chief medical officer’s advice and therefore the children have to be at home for the next 14 days,” McDonald said.

“This is a worrying time for families and for the staff at the school, particularly for the family of the person affected and we wish them a very, very speedy recovery.”

She added that she had cancelled planned public meetings in Cavan and Galway this week as a result.

“Remember to follow all of the advice, to listen to the medical advice and to wash your hands with warm, soapy water and to wash them again, to take care of yourselves and take care of each other,” she added.

Tweet by @Sinn Féin Source: Sinn Féin/Twitter

Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the staff and pupils at the school have been asked to “limit social interactions” as much as possible.

A telephone helpline has been established for those involved and a public meeting will be held tonight in the local area. 

Worldwide, about 89,000 people have been infected and over 3,000 people killed since the virus was first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

China yesterday reported a fresh spike in infections, with 573 new cases – the highest figure in a week after a dip. All but three of them were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital. 

The virus has spread to more than 60 countries around the globe, prompting the World Health Organisation to raise its risk assessment to its highest level.

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.

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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.

Includes reporting by Press Association and Orla Dwyer

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