COVID-19 update Monday (March 16)

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has announced this evening that there’s 54 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

The new cases are made up of 30 males and 24 females.

* 41 are associated with the east of the country
* 11 are associated with the south
* 2 are associated with the north/west of the country.

To date there have been two deaths associated with COVID-19 in Ireland.
There are now 223 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland.

The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.

The National Public Health Emergency Team met today (Monday), and made the following decisions:

* all Irish residents are advised against all non-essential travel overseas at this time until March 29
* all persons, including Irish residents, entering the country from overseas should restrict movements for 14 days, if showing no symptoms. This does not apply to Northern Ireland
* NPHET strongly recommends against leisure cruise ship travel

Today, the WHO called on all countries to test every suspected case of COVID-19. There are now five hospital sites around the country (in addition to the NVRL) providing testing. This number will increase over the coming week. Additional laboratory capacity will be accessed as required.

“We are working closely with ICGP to manage the rapid increase in requests for testing,” Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE said.

“If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, self isolate and phone your GP, who will assess your need for a test. We ask people to be patient as we increase the number of staff and testing centres to accommodate the increase requirement for testing.”

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, added; “The behaviours we adopt in the next seven days will form the template for how we interrupt the spread of this virus over the coming months. We need to sustain social distancing, respiratory hygiene and these new ways of behaving if we are to succeed in minimising the threat posed by COVID-19.”

Research published today by Amárach has shown that 84% of the population know the symptoms of COVID-19, more than three quarters (78%) are staying at home more often and 45% of all employees have started working from home.

“These findings are very positive and demonstrate the efforts that so many people across society are making to protect our communities,” Dr Ronan Glynn, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, said. “The challenge now is build on and sustain this momentum over the coming weeks.”