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Press Release

Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team - Tuesday 3 March 2020

Published: 3 March 2020
From: Department of Health

HPSC has been informed of a second confirmed case of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

There are now 2 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

397 people have been tested for Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland as at Monday 2 March.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has this evening been informed of a second confirmed case of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

The patient, a female in the east of Ireland, is currently receiving appropriate care.

The case is associated with travel from an affected area in Northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case.

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

The National Public Health Emergency Team met today (Tuesday 3 March) as part of its continuous assessment of Ireland’s response and preparedness to Covid-19.

The National Public Health Emergency Team has today recommended the following:

  • Ireland’s case definition remains the same. It will continue to be reviewed by the National Public Health Emergency Team as the global situation evolves
  • on public health grounds, the travel advice for Italy is updated to advise against all non-essential travel to the following four regions: Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont
  • Mass Gatherings Guidelines to be published in the coming days, following cross Government review
  • the HSE now moves to a community testing model for assessment and investigation of suspect cases
  • four sub-groups have been established to review: Vulnerable People Sub-Group, Health and Social Care Workers Protection, Acute Hospital Preparedness, Continuity of supply of Medicines and Medical Devices

There has been a notable increase in the number of cases tested, from 90 to 397 in one week. This was expected following the expansion of the case definition from Mainland China to include Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Iran and four regions in northern Italy (Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont).

The European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) yesterday confirmed the risk of widespread sustained transmission of COVID-19 in the EU and UK in the coming weeks as moderate to high. In consideration of this, the National Public Health Emergency Team has concluded that Ireland’s Case Definition remains unchanged; however, is subject to continuous review in light of the evolving situation.

The National Public Health Emergency Team recommends that HSE now moves to a community testing model for assessment and investigation of suspect cases. Suspect cases will be assessed in their home by National Ambulance Service staff, ensuring hospital avoidance and infection spread is limited.

The National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended that, on public health grounds, the travel advice for Italy is updated to advise against all non-essential travel to the following four regions; (Lombardy, Veneto Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont). The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its website to reflect this.

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

“Ireland has now confirmed a second case of Covid-19. While not unexpected we urge the general public to continue to take advice from HSE and Department of Health on how best to protect your health.
“Ireland remains in containment and unlike some other EU regions, has yet to experience any local transmission. The National Public Health Emergency Team continues to monitor the situation globally.
“The general public are urged to follow hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette and stay informed of the evolving situation through reputable sources such as HSE and Department of Health.”

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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