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Officials say everyone exposed to COVID-19 patient has now been informed

The Department of Health has said it has contacted everyone who was in close contact with the fir...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.40 28 Feb 2020


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Officials say everyone exposed...

Officials say everyone exposed to COVID-19 patient has now been informed

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

07.40 28 Feb 2020


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The Department of Health has said it has contacted everyone who was in close contact with the first person to be diagnosed with COVID-19 in Ireland.

The woman tested positive in Belfast yesterday after travelling home to Ireland from Italy via Dublin Airport.

The woman is believed to be a Belfast resident and is now being treated in isolation.

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Earlier, the HSE said it be contacting anyone who was sitting within two seats of the woman on the flight.

It has now said the contact tracing is complete with everyone who was in close contact with the woman notified.

Dr Jillian Johnson, consultant in Health Protection in Northern Ireland said the person is receiving care in hospital.

“This individual is receiving the appropriate care in accordance with the UK guidance which means they require hospital care but is stable,” she said.

Meanwhile, Iarnród Éireann has confirmed that it carried out a full deep clean of the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise train service overnight.

It is not clear how the woman travelled from Dublin to Belfast and the train service carried out the clean as a precaution.

The health service is urging the general public to follow this advice if they have been in an affected area or in contact with a confirmed case of the virus.

Coronavirus case Chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride speaking at a press conference in Belfast after the first case of Covid-19 has been identified in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said officials across Ireland and Britain are working together in response to the virus.

“There is ongoing cooperation and liaison between the respective public health bodies in Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland,” he said.

“So I think the public can take confidence and, as I mentioned earlier, because these viruses don’t recognise borders or boundaries, we are working in a collective way to ensure an appropriate and proportionate response.”

COVID-19 Coronavirus Tourists wearing masks around Trevi Fountains in Rome, 27-02-2020. Image: Insidefoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

More than 83,000 people in nearly 50 countries have been infected with the virus and close to 3,000 people have died.

The World Health Organisation has said that the outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and has “pandemic potential.”

Meanwhile, the first case has been diagnosed in Wales and two more have been diagnosed in England.

It brings the total in Britain to 18.

Doctors in Ireland say there is no need for panic as four out of five patients only experience mild symptoms.

Professor Sam McConkey, from the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the RCSI there is no need for panic as four out of five patients only experience mild symptoms.

“Only about 20% need oxygen and need support and unfortunately some then do need a ventilator to help their lunges breathe,” he said.

“But those technologies are very available in Belfast and in the North generally so I would be very confident the individual will be fine.”

He said that of the 45,000 cases reported in China between 2% and 3% died.

“It is much higher in elderly people over 70 and over 80-years-of-age and there were no deaths in children and very few deaths in the under 50s” he said.

He said we would be extremely lucky if we don’t uncover a case south of the border.

Officials are warning that it is critical people don’t panic and overload an already overburdened health service.

The HSE is urging anyone who has been to one of seven coronavirus-affected areas in the past two weeks and is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus to phone their local GP or Emergency Department without delay.

You should also self-isolate and avoid contact with other people.

The symptoms are a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).

The affected areas are:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • The Italian provinces of Lombardy, Piemonte, Veneto and Emilia – Romagna

The HSE said you should follow this advice even if your symptoms are mild.

If you are feeling well you should carry on with your normal routine and follow the advice on how to protect yourself from the virus.

You should also avoid spending time with people who are ill with a cough, high temperature, or breathing problems.

While there have been cases of the virus at a hotel in Tenerife the island is not considered an affected area.


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