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Press Release

Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team - Thursday 5 March 2020

Published: 5 March 2020
From: Department of Health

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has this evening been informed of seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

  • four are travel related from Northern Italy, four males from the east country
  • two are associated with close contact with a confirmed case, two females in the west of the country
  • one case of community transmission, a male from the south of the country, is associated with Cork University Hospital and a risk assessment is underway

There are now 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

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

“Ireland remains in containment phase with just one case of community transmission. This is, however, a rapidly evolving situation. Public health doctors are working hard to ensure our containment measures are operating effectively.
“Most people who become infected with Covid-19 experience a mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for some.
“However, this will need a national effort. Every individual needs to be aware of how to protect their own health and the health of others.
“The most important way they can do this is by following public health advice. Central to this are the protective measures we can all take against Covid-19, which include:
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  • maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • practice cough and sneeze hygiene - covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately
  • stay informed: keep up to date on latest Covid-19 information on www.hse.ie
“At Tuesday’s meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team, we established a sub-group to look at health and social care workers’ protection.
“This will remain a priority as part of our response to Covid-19 in Ireland. We also need the public to play their role in preventing the spread of this new disease and protecting themselves and their loved ones.”

Dr. Colm Henry, the Chief Clinical Officer of the HSE, said:

“We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our frontline healthcare workers, who are essential to the Irish healthcare system as we deal with this emerging situation.
“Their ongoing commitment and professionalism will help us withstand the threat posed by Covid-19.”

Dr. Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said:

“There are actions every single worker in our healthcare system can and should take now:
  • refocus your attention on handwashing and respiratory hygiene
  • make sure you are trained in the appropriate use of Personal Protection Equipment
  • most importantly, if you have been a contact of a confirmed case or if you have recently travelled back from an affected region, be alert to signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for a period of 14 days and do not go to work without first discussing with your local Department of Public Health.”

The general public is advised to follow advice from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to protect their health.

Any person who has travelled from an affected region in the last 14 days, or who has come in contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days, and is concerned that they may have symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) should immediately isolate themselves from others and phone their GP.


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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