03/10/2020

Health officials have said that 15 suspected cases of the coronavirus have been tested at the National Virus Reference Laboratory in Ireland, however there has as yet been no confirmed cases.

Health officials have said that 15 suspected cases of the new coronavirus have been tested at the National Virus Reference Laboratory here.
But to date, there has been no confirmed case here, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team.
Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health, said that a confirmed case of the virus is possible in Ireland, given the increase in cases seen internationally.
He said that a comprehensive plan is in place for the event that there is a confirmed case.
Over the coming days, the HSE is to issue personal protective equipment packs to GPs, public health doctors and out-of-hours services, as part of the preparation measures.
Dr Cillian De Gascun, chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group and Director of the National Virus Reference Laboratory at UCD, said that experts continue to monitor the spread and evolution of the virus because there is still a lot to learn.
To date worldwide, there have been over 28,200 laboratory confirmed cases of the virus, mostly in China.
So far since the outbreak in December, 565 people have died.
The Department of Health has encouraged the public to inform themselves on prevention measures issued on the HSE website and to follow the Health Protection Surveillance Centre for daily updates.
Read more:Chinese doctor who first warned of coronavirus diesDept says Irish citizens should consider leaving China
Meanwhile, an emergency meeting of all EU member states’ ministers for health to tackle the virus may take place in Brussels next week amid growing fears over its spread.
RTÉ News understands Minister for Health Simon Harris and his EU counterparts have been told they may have to attend the meeting next Thursday, which will focus on a potential EU-wide response to the medical threat.
The issue is due to be discussed during a video conference of ministers for health on Friday, during which all member states will provide an update on the situation in their countries.
While the potential emergency meeting in Brussels has not yet been agreed, a Government source confirmed the meeting is “very likely” due to the growing spread of the disease.
A number of Irish people in China have been caught up in the outbreak.
Personal protective equipment packs are currently being issued to around 3,000 GPs, public health doctors and clinics across Ireland as part of preparation measures.
Interim director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dr John Cuddihy, said the ability of the virus to transmit from person-to-person is limited.
Additional reporting: Fiachra Ó Cionnaith