A case of coronavirus, or Covid-19, was confirmed in the east of Ireland today. It is the first such case to be confirmed in the Republic, after a case was confirmed in Belfast last Thursday.
According to a statement from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre this evening, the patient, a male in the eastern part of the country, is currently receiving appropriate medical care. The patient was identified and tested in line with established protocols for the investigation of suspect cases of Covid-19.
The case is associated with travel from an affected area in Northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: “This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now.
“Public health protocols have been in place since January and are operating effectively.
“The health service is well used to managing infectious diseases and has robust response measures in place.”
Dr. John Cuddihy, Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: "The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
“It is important to note that the risk of transmission through casual contact is low."
Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
The general public is advised to follow advice from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to protect their health.
Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) should immediately isolate themselves from others and contact their GP by phone.
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