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Leah Farrell/

Five new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Republic of Ireland

Yesterday health officials revealed Ireland had its first case of community transmission.

LAST UPDATE | 6 Mar 2020

HEALTH OFFICIALS HAVE confirmed that there are five new cases of the Covid-19 virus in the Republic of Ireland while officials in the North have said another case has been detected there. 

There were seven new cases confirmed yesterday and this evening’s additional cases bring the total number in the Republic to 18. Adding in the four cases in the North, it means there are now 22 cases on the island of Ireland.

The new cases in the Republic are: 

  • A man in the east who had travelled to northern Italy 
  • A woman in the west who had contact with someone with the virus 
  • A female health care worker in the south who had contact with someone with the illness
  • A man in the south who health officials said got the virus from travel. This was not travel from an affected area
  • A woman in the south whose case is associated with travel to northern Italy 

Chief medical officer Tony Holohan said that 18 is a small number of cases. He added that “the case identification process is working well” and that the disease was still “at an early stage”.

When asked about the condition of those with the illness, Holohan added that he will not “provide updates on individuals on a clinical point of view”.

He added that the National Public Health Emergency Team might now instead report once a week on the status of the illness in Ireland instead of a daily briefing.

When asked about ways to prevent getting the illness, Dr Holohan added that the HSE is not recommending the use of masks and gloves.

“It’s important to emphasise the message that [we] are not recommending the use of masks or gloves as a self-protection routine. Proper hand washing is important in this.”

Director of the HSE’s acute operations, Liam Woods, said that a pop-up testing facility in Clare was an effective way of screening people. 

He said: “It worked well. We managed to see the people who needed to be seen. [It's an] efficient way to solve the problem. We will deal with others on a needs-be basis.”

An old garda station in Clare had been turned into the testing facility. People who believed they might have the illness were seen by members of the National Ambulance Service where swabs were taken. 

The health officials added that a typically healthy person will recover from a mild form of the illness within two weeks. 

Cork University Hospital cancellations

Yesterday, the first case of community transmission was confirmed in a male patient at Cork University Hospital (CUH). This man had not recently been abroad or in contact with a confirmed case and health authorities had not established how he contracted the virus.

CUH has cancelled all outpatient appointments and restricted visitor access. It also asked some staff to self-isolate as a result of the diagnosis of this patient, who had been admitted and then discharged recently before he was readmitted and tested positive for Covid-19. 

University Hospital Limerick also seeking to trace contacts of a case, and this afternoon announced a visiting ban across its six hospital sites. 

Healthcare workers returning from high risk areas have been told not to go to work unless they are cleared by public health officials. 

Trinity College has closed a section of the campus due to a confirmed case of the coronavirus at the college. 

The HSE has been working to trace anyone who was in contact with infected individuals to ensure they receive medical attention, if required. 

- With reporting by Hayley Halpin and Pat Flynn

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