Coronavirus: First case confirmed in Republic of Ireland

Employees work in the DaAn Gene laboratory in Guangzhou, China. The company has developed the Covid-19 RNA detection kit.

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The first case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.

The patient is a male in the eastern part of the country, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

It said he is currently receiving appropriate medical care.

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

The patient was identified and tested in line with established protocols for the investigation of suspected cases of Covid-19.

Dr Tony Holohan, the Republic’s chief medical officer, said: “This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now.

“Public health protocols have been in place since January and are operating effectively.

“The health service is well used to managing infectious diseases and has robust response measures in place.”

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The first case of coronavirus in Northern Ireland was confirmed on Thursday

It comes two days after the first case of the virus was diagnosed in Northern Ireland.

The woman was in Italy last week and flew to Dublin Airport before travelling to Northern Ireland.

It was confirmed by laboratory tests on Saturday.

Officials have said everyone in close contact with the woman has been notified.

All-island strategy

Earlier on Saturday, Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar and the Republic’s health minister Simon Harris held a conference call with political leaders in Northern to discuss how best to contain the virus.

It came as the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, issued guidelines to parishes “due to the recent concerns surrounding the coronavirus”.

A number of changes to Mass have been advised, including the sign of peace being suspended and holy water fonts not being used.

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On Monday Irish citizens were advised not to travel to affected areas of northern Italy

The Church of Ireland has also issued advisory guidelines to parishes which includes the recommendation that “physical interaction during services” should be suspended.

Both churches have said anyone administering Holy Communion must wash their hands and sanitise them with alcohol-based gel and that Communion must be administered into parishioners’ hands and not their mouths.

On Monday, Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs advised its citizens not to travel to areas of Italy affected by the coronavirus.

A “drive-through” coronavirus testing centre is in operation at Antrim Area Hospital.

The facility allows patients referred by a GP to be tested in their vehicle.

Antrim Hospital is carrying out tests on patients who are referred by a GP, who must agree a test is required based on travel history and symptoms, as first reported in the Irish News.

On arrival at the hospital staff wearing protective equipment will approach their vehicle and collect necessary swabs through an open window.

The Public Health Agency has confirmed that 93 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Northern Ireland and 92 were negative.

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