HSE: Use the phone if risk of coronavirus in home

HSE: Use the phone if risk of coronavirus in home

Additional reporting by Kevin O'Neill, Jess Casey and Eamon Quinn

Family members may be forced to communicate with each other by phone in their own homes if a member of the household is awaiting test results for the coronavirus.

The advice is contained in an HSE information sheet, as the number of confirmed cases of the virus globally continues to rise.

Brazil has become the first Latin American country to report a confirmed case, while Asia, Europe and the Middle East are reporting increasing numbers of cases.

In the event that an Irish person is being tested for the coronavirus, the HSE has advised that family members or people sharing a residence with that person should avoid contact and communicate by phone.

“It is best to stay out of the room they are in as much as possible and avoid touching. Phones can be used to talk to each other. If they need to use a shared kitchen or toilet, ask them to call you so you can go to another room,” the HSE advises.

If possible, the person waiting for the test result should have their own toilet and bathroom that no one else uses. 

Other members of the household should also avoid using towels that the person has used.

It also recommends wearing a facemask if advised to and not to share household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other things until they have been cleaned thoroughly.

The HSE states that if someone in a house is awaiting a test result, they should not invite visitors into the home and ensure that people who are at a high risk of severe disease do not care for the patient or come close to them.

The advice comes as the Ireland versus Italy rugby game has become the first major sporting event to fall victim to the virus.

Following the announcement, the IRFU said it is working with the Six Nations to reschedule the ties.

“Ticket holders are asked to retain their tickets for now,” a spokesman said.

“The IRFU will be providing ticket holders with tickets for the rescheduled games or a refund if they wish to receive one. Information on both these options will be released as soon as possible.”

The Six Nations isn’t the only sporting event affected.

The Irish boxing squad has also cut short a training camp in Assisi due to the virus outbreak. 

The squad was in a two-week camp in preparation for Olympic qualifiers but management took the decision to return home as a precaution.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Cheltenham Festival insist the event will go ahead.

Ian Renton, Cheltenham’s regional director, said: “We’ve had lots of things in the past, last year we had equine flu and high winds as a risk.

There’s always going to be some risk, but at the moment we really look forward to a fantastic festival in a fortnight’s time.

The Department of Education has said it is still too early to say if schools and third-level institutes face closure as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as a case has yet to be confirmed here.

Any such measures would be proposed by the National Public Health Emergency Team currently tasked with monitoring the status of the virus here, a Department of Education spokesman confirmed.

The department also declined to give an exact figure on the number of schools or students that have recently travelled to the worst affected areas of Italy.

Diageo, the owner of Guinness, Baileys, Smirnoff and a host of other spirits, and Danone, the foods giant which also operates facilities in Ireland, also became the latest global companies to warn about the coronavirus outbreak on sales and their supply chain.

Diageo, which sells its drinks and spirits across Asia, said that the disruption could cost it as much as £325m (€388m) in lost sales.

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