'We need to ramp up readiness' - WHO warn there could be 'multiple waves' of coronavirus

'We need to ramp up readiness' - WHO warn there could be 'multiple waves' of coronavirus

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) coordinator for the response to the corona virus, Dr David Nabarro has warned that there could be “multiple waves” of the virus and that it is going to continue spreading.

“The world is getting ready for more outbreaks, it's been only seven weeks.

"We need to ramp up readiness,” he told Today with Séan O’Rourke.

“Readiness is important - it is going to go on spreading, we are doing everything to help people and working to keep it the lowest possible levels.”

Meanwhile, the HSE’s director of public health Dr John Cuddihy, who has coordinated the HSE’s response to the virus told the programme that there has been a review of ICU facilities and that a plan is in place in the event of an outbreak of the virus in Ireland.

He was responding to media reports where the head of department of anaesthesia and critical care in St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, warned that Ireland will struggle to deal with even a small number of severely ill patients should coronavirus cases occur here.

As Ireland should 'expect cases' of coronavirus, Japan closes schools nationwide

An expert in virology has praised the HSE for its handling of preparations for the coronavirus.

'We need to ramp up readiness' - WHO warn there could be 'multiple waves' of coronavirus

Dr Kim Roberts, Leader of Virology at the Department of Microbiology in Trinity College Dublin told RTÉ Radio that Ireland that the HSE’s advice “is fantastic” and it will help in stopping the spread of the infection.

Meanwhile, two more people have tested positive for the virus in England, the UK's Department of Health said.

Elsewhere, Japan is announcing the closure of schools across the country to help control the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he has asked schools to remain closed until spring holidays begin in late March.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The measure comes amid growing concern about the rise in the number of untraceable cases in northern Japan and elsewhere. Japan now has more than 890 cases, including 705 from a quarantined cruise ship.

Earlier: We should 'expect cases' of coronavirus in Ireland; Two more cases confirmed in UK

An expert in virology has praised the HSE for its handling of preparations for the coronavirus.

Dr Kim Roberts, Leader of Virology at the Department of Microbiology in Trinity College Dublin told RTÉ Radio that Ireland that the HSE’s advice “is fantastic” and it will help in stopping the spread of the infection.

Meanwhile, two more people have tested positive for the virus in England, the UK's Department of Health said.

The two patients have been transferred to specialist NHS infection centres after contracting the virus in Italy and Tenerife, according to England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty.

The new cases bring the total number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the UK to 15.

In Ireland, the advice is about slowing down transmission of the virus, Dr Roberts said. This will mean longer exposure, but avoidance of a high peak.

The HSE has to prepare for the possible spread of the virus and to plan to ensure the impacts is lessened, she explained.

Dr Roberts said she hoped that levels of the virus had peaked in China, but this is unknown as yet. It was inevitable that there would eventually be a case in Ireland.

It’s only a matter of time, we should prepare for and expect cases to arrive here and plan to make the impact as less as possible.

As the virus is spread by close contact, it made sense to reduce the incidents of large groups of people gathering together such as the Ireland v Italy rugby game. Apart from cancelling such events, it was also likely that turn out would be smaller if events went ahead, because of public concern, she said.

The HSE plans should help slow down the spread of the virus which will give medical services time to prepare and treat patients.

Self containment is effective, she said and where possible the person should also isolate themselves from their family to protect them.

Washing hands is an important preventative measure, said Dr Roberts. Hands should be washed in either soap and water or anti bacterial liquid for at least 20 seconds. “That mechanism makes a big difference," she said.

Earlier: Ibec say virus won't have major impact on economy

Ibec says it doesn't expect the coronavirus to have a major impact on the Irish economy.

'We need to ramp up readiness' - WHO warn there could be 'multiple waves' of coronavirus

The business group is anticipating growth in GDP of almost 4% this year in its latest economic outlook.

"We'll look back on this period in 12 months time and I don't think we'll notice in any material way that the virus disrupted the economy," said Fergal O'Brien from Ibec.

"Right now, definitely, it is having an impact on some businesses, there is no doubt about that. We see it in some of the supply chain issues, we're going to see it in some sectors of the economy.

We expect this to be a relatively short-felt impact but we think there'll be a catch-up when we return to normality.

Meanwhile, the outbreak has now spread to every continent apart from Antarctica.

The World Health Organisation has said, for the first time, that the virus is now growing at a faster rate outside of China.

In Ireland, the HSE is stepping up its campaign on the virus.

Posters, leaflets and HSE staff will be at ports and airports over the coming weeks.

- Additional reporting Digital Desk, Joel Slattery and Press Association

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