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13.00 3 Mar 2020


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Members of a youth band in Dublin have been asked by the HSE to self-isolate as a precaution to stop the spread of coronavirus.

It is in connection with the one confirmed case of the virus in the Republic.

All parents of the band members in question have been advised that members are being treated as possible contacts, and are now being asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Anyone in self-isolation will be monitored by HSE staff over the next two weeks for any symptoms of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health this afternoon withdrew its previous claim to the media that a letter circulating online about the situation was a hoax.

Health Minister Simon Harris has confirmed the letter is real and "not a hoax".

Minister Harris said: "People are answering questions and queries in good faith - and on this occasion, that good faith turned out not to be true.

"That was quickly rectified and has been clarified by me as Minister for Health.

"What is most important to the public is the clarification that measures have been taken on a precautionary basis in relation to that band".

He said more information about the situation will be provided to the public by the Chief Medical Officer at the daily press conference on COVID-19 later today.

Self-isolation

The mother of one of the band members spoke to Lunchtime Live about the situation.

She explained that she initially received a call from the HSE yesterday afternoon, and then a follow-up email.

While the family has had to put in plans to deal with the situation over the next two weeks, their main concern is that their daughter "remains well and doesn't pose any risk to anyone else".

She said while they're doing 'as much as possible without being too extreme' within the house as a precaution, they are trying to remain calm about the situation at the same time.

She said she was "very shocked" to hear the hoax reports this morning, but added that "at no point did we think it was anything other than legitimate".

Over the weekend, the first case of coronavirus in the Republic was confirmed.

A Dublin secondary school has been temporarily closed as a precaution.

Students and teachers have been told to restrict their movements for two weeks after a male student was confirmed as the first COVID-19 case here.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

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