UPDATED: First confirmed coronavirus case on island and they travelled through Dublin


90 suspected cases of Coronavirus tested in Ireland

90 suspected cases of Coronavirus tested in Ireland

The first case of coronavirus on the island of Ireland has been identified in Northern Ireland.

The news was confirmed during a briefing by Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency on Thursday evening, RTÉ reports.

The patient is receiving specialist care and the agency says they are working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient had.

The agency said the patient had been to northern Italy and then travelled home to Northern Ireland through Dublin.

The patient, who is believed to be an adult, is now in isolation at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The Public Health Agency said it would be inappropriate to reveal any personal details and would not answer questions about gender, age or where the patient is from.

Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann has spoken to Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Dr Michael McBride, Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer, said the Public Health Agency is liaising with public health bodies in the Republic in an attempt to identify anyone the patient may have come into close contact with.

The Agency would not comment on whether the patient travelled from Dublin to Northern Ireland on public transport.

It says staff will work closely with health colleagues in the Republic to identify others potentially at risk.

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said: “Giving the evolving situation this first case of COVID-19 disease was not unexpected. The National Public Health Emergency Team has been planning for this scenario since January.”

“The general public should continue to adhere to the public health protocols issued by the Department of Health.”

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer in the Dept of Health, said: “The HSE is well-prepared and is working to inform any contacts the patient had in order to prevent transmission.”

“COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.

“Close contact involves either face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person. The risk of transmission through casual contact is low.”

Public Health protocols, similar to those used to respond to previous incidents of pandemic influenza, SARS and MERS, have been in place since January and are operating effectively.  

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

Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) should immediately isolate themselves from others and phone their GP.  -        Anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran & four regions in northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should 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 & 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
·        shortness of breath
·        breathing difficulties
·        fever (high temperature)

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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