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First death in Ireland confirmed as coronavirus declared a pandemic: Today's main Covid-19 points

There are now 61 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Covid-19 on the island of Ireland.

Trinity College Dublin has closed the Book of Kells, the Science Gallery, and other areas of the college.
Trinity College Dublin has closed the Book of Kells, the Science Gallery, and other areas of the college.
Image: Sam Boal

Updated Mar 11th 2020, 4:40 PM

THE FIRST DEATH relating to the coronavirus has been confirmed in Ireland today as the Department of Health announced it has identified a further nine cases in the Republic of Ireland.

The death related to a woman who died in a hospital in the east of the country where she was being treated. 

With the announcement of nine new cases, there is now a total of 43 cases in the Republic of Ireland and a further 18 cases in Northern Ireland. 

In a statement this afternoon, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health extended his condolences to the family and friends of the patient who passed away.

A short time later, the World Health Organization declared the spread of Covid-19 a pandemic. 

Yesterday, the government took significant action to attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19: advising people not to travel to Italy for any reason.

Today, the HSE chief executive Paul Reid tweeted out that “we are entering a new phase in Covid-19″.

“I fully support our hospitals who have to make decisions on restricting visitors based on clinical risk, patient and public safety. Please do as we urge and our ask will increase as we progress,” he said.

Paschal Donohoe also said that Ireland needs an “unprecedented shared national effort” to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Here are the main points:

  • The first death relating to the coronavirus has been confirmed in Ireland. 
  • The spread of Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic, by the World Health Organization (WHO). 
  • Nine new cases were confirmed today, bringing the total in Ireland to 43.
  • A total of 1,784 people have been tested for the virus, with 1,387 tested last week.
  • Two new cases were confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total there to 18.
  • The total number of cases on the island of Ireland is 61.
  • Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe asked employers to pay their workers for days that they would be off sick with Covid-19.
  • A number of conferences, festivals and events are being cancelled amid fears that the Covid-19 coronavirus could spread further in Ireland. 
  • Trinity College could lose €3 million after deciding to close the Book of Kells exhibition. Lectures are to be held online and the Science Gallery is also closed.
  • The Department of Education has said that as of now, it is not ordering all primary and secondary schools to close over the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Dublin Business Innovation Centre is postponing its FutureScope 2020 event, which was due to take place on 1 April at the Convention Centre.
  • The Irish Men’s Sheds Association has asked men’s shed members to be mindful of their own health the health of their members.
  • MEP Mairéad McGuinness expressed concern to Ireland’s drugs and pharmaceutical industry if countries stopped exporting raw materials to us.
  • Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív told TG4 last night that Ireland should use the advantage of being an island, and restrict travel into the country.

Health Minister Simon Harris this morning thanked other parties’ health spokespeople for not politicising the coronavirus crisis.

Politics can at times, by its very nature, be adversarial. In a time of a public health emergency there is no place for that. I want to acknowledge and thank health spokespeople across the political parties/groups for working together in our national interest on coronavirus.

Harris also spoke on RTÉ’s Prime Time last night about why public gatherings weren’t being stopped and that places weren’t being put on lockdown.

“It has to be about doing it in the right order”, adding that “there will be a time when measures will be taken, but we’ve got to get the timing right”.

Harris said that the National Public Health Team was considering what to do with public mass gatherings, such as concerts at the 3Arena, on Friday.

We wrote about this topic yesterday, based on comments from the Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan and Tánaiste Simon Coveney.

Statista Source: Statista

Elsewhere in the world:

  • Italy’s death toll increased by a third yesterday to 631
  • The British minister Nadine Dorries has tested positive for coronavirus
  • Dutch PM Mark Rutte called his citizens to stop shaking hands - before shaking hands with the head of his infectious diseases department
  • Belgium has had it’s first death from the coronavirus; the person was 90 years old
  • Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both canceled election night rallies scheduled for Cleveland last night after the number of cases doubled to over 1,000 cases
  • Arsenal players were put into quarantine, resulting in a Premier League match against Man City being postponed 
  • Beijing reported an increase in imported cases, increasing fears of a rise in the virus in China again due to the spread in other countries
  • Heathrow Airport has said that passenger numbers have fallen by 4.8% to 5.4 million due to the Covid-19 outbreak
  • Tokyo’s Disney park is closing until April due to fears about the virus
  • The Cheltenham Festival is still going ahead.

cheltenham-festival-2020-champion-day-cheltenham-racecourse Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser dispensers on day one of the Cheltenham Festival. Source: Andrew Matthews

Prevention

Covid-19 is spread through droplets caused by sneezing or coughing, or by touching a surface that someone has sneezed or coughed on within a particular time frame. It cannot be passed through your skin, and it’s thought that it’s unlikely to be airborne.

It may take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. 

The best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus are to wash hands properly and often, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue/your sleeve when coughing and sneezing, and put used tissues in a bin and wash your hands. 

Symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties.

Further resources:

  • The HSE: Official advice on the coronavirus in Ireland. This is being updated based on the number of confirmed cases and how the virus spreads in Ireland.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs: Official advice on where to avoid travelling to. Also a resource for those who are abroad.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO): The UN agency on global public health publishes statements and daily situation reports based on the latest data.
  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC): The EU agency on the number of cases, deaths and how it’s spreading in Europe. 
  • The Johns Hopkins University map: A heat map of the confirmed cases across the world.

A helpline for older people who are concerned about the coronavirus has been launched by Alone. The number is 0818 222 024, and it’s open Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm.

With reporting by Cónal Thomas 

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