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Today’s Covid-19 main points: 33 cases on island of Ireland and more community transmission confirmed

From The Journal.ie

LAST NIGHT, TWO more cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland and five cases in Northern Ireland.

This increased the total number of cases on the island of Ireland to 33.

Both of the newly confirmed cases in the Republic were transmitted through community transmission.

Community transmission means that the infection was not imported from another virus-hit area like northern Italy or China.

Here are the main points you need to know about the situation in Ireland today:

  • Two new cases were confirmed in the Republic of Ireland last night
  • There are 21 cases in the Republic
  • There are 12 cases in Northern Ireland after five more were confirmed last night
  • Three of Ireland’s 21 cases are associated with community transmission
  • The new Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 is due to meet later today, RTÉ reports. It will hear from Tony Holohan and discuss supports for self-isolation and taking time off work
  • Over 1,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Ireland so far
  • Last night’s cases were confirmed to be one female in the east of the country and one male in the south
  • The male is associated with the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork
  • A risk assessment is underway, the Bon Secours Hospital said last night
  • Cork University Hospital is rescheduling outpatient appointments between today and Wednesday amid concerns about the disease
  • The majority of cases in the Republic are related to travel from northern Italy

Here’s what you need to know from around the world:

  • A quarter of Italy’s population is under lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. There are over 7,300 cases and 366 deaths in the country from the disease, the second highest of any country.
  • Inmates in four Italian prisons revolted over new rules introduced to contain the spread of the disease, including banning family visits, leaving one prisoner dead and others injured.
  • There are more than 500 Covid-19 cases in the US.
  • France has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
  • South Korea has seen its lowest daily rise in new Covid-19 cases for two weeks.
  • Medical officers were ready to board a virus-affected cruise ship in California yesterday.

Visitor restrictions 

Strict visitor restrictions are in place at a number of hospitals around the country.

In the south of the country, restrictions have been implemented in:

  • Cork University Hospital
  • Cork University Maternity Hospital
  • University Hospital Kerry
  • University Hospital Waterford
  • South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital
  • Mercy University Hospital
  • Bantry General Hospital
  • Mallow General Hospital

The Bon Secours Hospital in Cork has a no visitor policy at the moment, with exceptions only for critically ill patients and those with specific care needs.

‘Containment phase’

There is a “moderate to high risk” Ireland will follow the pattern of Covid-19 spread seen in other EU countries, Minister for Health Simon Harris said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning.

“Ireland is at an early stage of progression here compared to other European countries,” Harris said.

Speaking to members of the press today, Harris said the best estimate for how high this risk could be is due “by the end of the week”.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said yesterday evening that Ireland “remains in containment phase”.

The HSE said the risk of catching Covid-19 in Ireland is still low to moderate but this may change.

Countries around the world have been cancelling events and enforcing quarantines to try to prevent further spread of the disease.

At the moment, Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin city centre is due to go ahead as planned next week.

Clarity from public health experts on whether the parade should be held next week is expected within 48 hours, Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed this morning.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Friday that “there is no recommendation to cancel mass gatherings at this stage”.

A decision from the Cabinet Covid-19 committee on the issue of sick pay for workers is also expected today.

It is feared that workers who do not have sick pay entitlements in their contracts, and who can’t afford a loss of income will not take time off from work and could spread the virus by working while sick.

Independent councillors Christy Burke and Anthony Flynn are set to table a motion at an emergency meeting of Dublin City Council this morning at 10am for the parade to be cancelled indefinitely.

In TheJournal.ie’s voices this morning, we hear from Professor Sam McConkey who says the government cannot take a hands-off approach to this situation.

“How governments mobilise and respond now will determine its length and severity,” McConkey writes.

A hands-off, worry-about-it-later approach to containment is precisely how a disease spreads and takes hold. Once a certain critical mass of people is infected, a disease becomes uncontrollable, and treatment switches from preventative to curative. This places massive pressure on a country’s healthcare system and virtually every other part of its economy and society.

Symptoms and prevention 

Covid-19 is spread through sneeze or cough droplets. It may take up to 14 days for symptoms to show.

The best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus are to wash hands properly and often, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue/your sleeve when coughing and sneezing, and put used tissues in a bin and wash your hands.

Symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties