Strategy in place to contain any Irish coronavirus cases, chief medical office says

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Additional reporting Digital Desk Staff

The chief medical officer at the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan has confirmed that there is a strategy in place to contain the coronavirus should any cases arrive in the country.

Dr Holohan told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that there are no confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland. He welcomed the classification on Thursday by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the coronavirus outbreak that started in China was a public health emergency “of international concern”.

“Such a categorisation will allow the WHO to give more effective assistance to China,” he said.

“Early detection and prevention of spread of the virus are the key components of the Department of Health’s plans to combat the coronavirus,” explained Dr Holohan.

The plans have been in place for some weeks and are based on similar campaigns for Sars, Mers and the flu pandemic of 2009-2010.

Frontline services such as GP surgeries, hospitals, ambulances will all be informed on how to detect and deal with any suspect cases.

“There are no certainties, we will prepare for the worst case scenario and hope for the best.”

It was important that if a person who had travelled from a region where the virus was present felt unwell, they would identify themselves at an early stage., he said.

The evidence from China was that good prevention measures such as masks appeared to help.

“If basic preventative procedures are put in place, they are effective.”

Meanwhile, the National Public Health Emergency Team says Ireland will continue to monitor the situation regarding coronavirus.

It said Ireland is well-positioned to detect and respond to any case that might arise here.

As yet there have been no confirmed cases in Ireland.

The NPHET will continue to monitor the situation and to participate in the international assessment of response to it, through the European Centre for disease control and the WHO.



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