No confirmed cases as 15 tested for coronavirus

No confirmed cases as 15 tested for coronavirus

There have been 15 suspected cases of coronavirus tested in Ireland in recent days, but there have been no confirmed cases, it emerged last night.

However, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, has warned that a confirmed case here is possible, given the increase in cases being seen internationally.

He said Ireland has comprehensive public health and emergency plans in place, and is prepared if a case is confirmed.

Dr Cillian De Gascun, who chairs the coronavirus expert advisory group, said the fact that we have not seen sustained human-to-human transmission in any other country outside China is a positive indicator for our containment measures here.

The HSE also confirmed that it has begun distributing some 3,000 personal protection packs to GPs and clinics around the country — an exercise that will take between a week to 10 days.

HSE assistant national director of public health and child health, Kevin Kelleher, said: “It is basically a gown, gloves, mask, and goggles. It is for the GP or relevant person to use if they get contacted by somebody who comes in to see them.”

Dr De Gascun, of the National Virus Reference Laboratory who tested the 15 suspect cases as of Monday, said test results are available about eight hours after a sample arrives in the lab.

Dr Kelleher said they are able to confirm within 24 to 36 hours whether or not someone has the disease.

He also said the HSE had been very careful in how they described the disease.

He said it is not “a Chinese disease” and it was very inappropriate for some people to describe it in a way to discriminate against people. He warned that it could cause people who have caught the virus not to come forward.

Asked was it inevitable that there would be cases in Ireland, Dr Kelleher said the World Health Organisation was hoping to contain the virus within China.

Countries outside of China were making sure there was no “sustained transmission” of the virus.

“All the evidence is that outside of China, particularly at the moment, there is no such sustained transmission,” said Dr Kelleher.

He said people who have returned from China and who have symptoms should get in touch with their doctor by phone as a first step.

He said clinicians would get in touch with staff in public health and they would decide what happens next.

“We are able to say that, as of lunchtime today (Thursday), there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ireland.”

Asked about the two suspected cases in Cork and Kerry, Dr Kelleher, said they diddo not discuss individuals.

When asked if there were adequate isolation facilities in the country’s acute hospitals, Dr Kelleher said they had been working “very hard” to ensure that they were prepared to isolate patients with the disease.

Meanwhile, there have been 75 deaths from flu and 3,242 people hospitalised with the virus.

More on this topic

Global shares hit as investors focus on coronavirus outbreak in prisonsGlobal shares hit as investors focus on coronavirus outbreak in prisons

Krishnan Guru-Murthy backs Sport Relief trek relocation over coronavirus fearsKrishnan Guru-Murthy backs Sport Relief trek relocation over coronavirus fears

Quarantined British prepare for return from coronavirus-hit cruise shipQuarantined British prepare for return from coronavirus-hit cruise ship

Doctors obliged to notify HSE when Covid-19 cases diagnosedDoctors obliged to notify HSE when Covid-19 cases diagnosed


More in this Section

Courts Service gets orders for information to identify people who posted about elderly woman onlineCourts Service gets orders for information to identify people who posted about elderly woman online

Teen only learned of sexual assault on her from Facebook videoTeen only learned of sexual assault on her from Facebook video

New NI Secretary of State meets Simon Coveney in BelfastNew NI Secretary of State meets Simon Coveney in Belfast

Cavan syndicate of 295 members claim over €250k EuroMillions prizeCavan syndicate of 295 members claim over €250k EuroMillions prize


Lifestyle

Not all trends are created equal. Some are exciting – like first-date butterflies; others are comforting – like ice-cream and Golden Girls reruns.Trend of the Week: Floral free for all

Veterinary medicine is a demanding career, leading to mental health problems for some vets.Elephant in the clinic: Helpline offers support to vets with mental health difficulties

Pearl Lowe turns 50 in April – and she’s got a lot to celebrate. TA look into the reinvention of Pearl Lowe

Bonnie Ryan couldn’t be happier.On a roll: Why Bonnie Ryan couldn't be happier

More From The Irish Examiner