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Statement from the National Public Health Emergency Team

15 suspected cases of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) tested in Ireland

There have been 15 suspected cases of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) tested in the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL) as of Monday 3 February.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Ireland.

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

The event of a confirmed case of Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Ireland is possible, given the increase in cases we are seeing internationally. Ireland has comprehensive Public Health and Emergency Plans in place and is prepared for the event of a confirmed case, should one arise.

Dr. Cillian De Gascun, Chair of the Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, a sub group of the National Public Health Emergency Team said;

We have not seen sustained human-to-human transmission in any other country outside China, which is a positive indicator for our containment measures. We will continue to monitor the spread and evolution of the virus because there is still a lot to learn, and advise the National Public Health Emergency Team accordingly.

Ireland is well positioned to detect and respond to a case of novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that might arise here.

Dr Vida Hamilton National Clinical Advisor and Group Lead, Acute Hospitals, HSE said;

The HSE has been working with frontline staff in our health service over recent weeks in response to Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). 3,000 personal protection packs have issued to GPs and clinics around the country and will be received in the coming days. All acute hospitals have multi-disciplinary Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) preparedness committees to oversee implementation of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre algorithms and actions.

The critical care service has developed management guidance for the care of any patients with Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) who should require their services and the National Ambulance Service is actively engaged in risk assessment and the co-ordinated response to case recognition and containment.

Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is spread through contact and droplets so good cough and sneeze hygiene, with regular hand washing, is the best way to keep well.

The general public is encouraged to inform themselves on prevention measures issued by HSE and to follow HPSC for regular daily updates.