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Press Release

Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team - Wednesday 4 March 2020

Published: 4 March 2020
From: Department of Health

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed of two confirmed cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Northern Ireland.

Both patients are in isolation in Northern Ireland and are receiving treatment.

One patient is associated with travel from an affected area in Northern Italy.

The other patient is associated with close contact with a confirmed case in the UK.

Public Health Authorities in Northern Ireland have activated contact tracing protocols.

Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, Dr. Tony Holohan, said:

“We now understand there are three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, five in total on the island of Ireland.
“Given that COVID-19 is a new disease it is understandable that its emergence may give rise to anxiety and fear among the general public. These factors can also give rise to harmful stereotypes.
"This virus knows no borders, or race. Restricting travel into Ireland does not form a component of our current response. We must continue to focus on ensuring that everyone is informed, and knows what to do in the event they develop symptoms.
"It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to COVID-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. No other response is appropriate.
"The general public should continue to follow HSE.ie and Gov.ie/health for accurate and informative information regarding Ireland’s response to COVID-19."

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

The National Public Health Emergency Team case definition includes Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy (Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont) alongside mainland China.

Anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP

Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP

Anyone who has been to an affected region (China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days, and are well, should visit www.HSE.ie for advice.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) to show.

Symptoms may include:

  • a cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties
  • fever (high temperature)

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) can also cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Things you can do to protect yourself from getting Covid-19 (Coronavirus) include:

  • wash your hand properly and regularly
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze

Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub:

  • after coughing and sneezing
  • after toilet use
  • before eating
  • before and after preparing food

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