HSE confirms it can detain coronavirus patients who refuse to comply with protocols

HSE confirms it can detain coronavirus patients who refuse to comply with protocols

Doctors will be able to detain coronavirus patients who refuse to comply with infection prevention and control protocols, the HSE has confirmed.

The Department of Health is seeking to have Covid-19, the coronavirus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, added to the list of notifiable diseases.

The department also intends adding Covid-19 to the list of infectious diseases, such as smallpox that allows a doctor to detain a patient who almost certainly has the disease.

However, the HSE believes it will be “highly unlikely” that anyone would refuse to be isolated if they present a risk of spreading the virus.

The health authority pointed out that the law was changed during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002.

“It is not envisaged that such powers would, in fact, be used,” said the HSE.

The National Virus Reference Laboratory tested 65 people for the virus up to last Monday and all were negative.

The European Centre for Disease and Control said the infection risk in Europe is currently low.

However, there are “uncertainties” regarding transmissibility and under-detection, particularly among mild or asymptomatic cases.

For the population, the impact of one or more infections resulting in sustained transmission would be moderate to high.

The ECDC added that information on case severity and the effectiveness of control measures remains very limited.

There have been over 48,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with over 47,500 in China, reported to the World Health Organisation, including almost 1,400 deaths.

Cases have been reported from 25 countries.

Meanwhile, the increase in fake news could be making disease outbreaks worse, experts warn.

Researchers focused on the flu, monkeypox and norovirus across two studies but believe their findings could be useful for dealing with Covid-19.

They suggest that efforts to stop people sharing fake news, misinformation and harmful advice on social media could save lives.

Scientists said the concern that fake news might be used to distort political processes or manipulate financial markets was well established.

However, the possibility that misinformation spread could harm human health, especially during the outbreak of an infectious disease, is less studied.

Covid-19 expert Paul Hunter and Julii Brainard, both from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Norwich Medical School, tested the effect of sharing dangerously wrong information on human health during a disease outbreak.

Professor Hunter said fake news was manufactured with no respect for accuracy and was often based on conspiracy theories.

"Worryingly, research has shown that nearly 40% of the British public believe at least one conspiracy theory, and even more in the US and other countries," he said.

"When it comes to Covid-19, there has been a lot of speculation, misinformation and fake news circulating on the internet - about how the virus originated, what causes it and how it is spread."


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