Given the threat of COVID-19 – more commonly referred to as ‘the Coronavirus’ – hanging over many events around the world, many Dubliners have been worried about the looming St Patrick’s Day Parades around the city.
At the time of publication, the Government is not advising that St Patrick’s Day parades should be cancelled due to the Coronavirus threat.
However, this situation obviously could change in the next few days or week, given what is proving to be a fast-moving situation.
Caretaker Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously said the Government is expecting the Coronavirus to further spread.
He also said the Government made three decisions to deal with issues arising from the medical threat to people.
A Cabinet sub-committee chaired by An Taoiseach has been set up; there will also be a stakeholder forum to engage with people working in the medical field, and the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Health will work together to identify resources needed.
Mr Varadkar said that advice, actions and plans may change, and there was a moderate to high risk of more Coronavirus cases emerging.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said the Government was regularly talking to public health experts and taking advice from them.
Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said he saw no reason why, as things stood, that the St Patrick’s Day festival should not go ahead.
Meanwhile, with The Department of Foreign Affairs already presenting travel advice about restrictions or caution visiting China, their expanded travel advice now also includes Japan, Hong Kong, Iran, and four regions in Italy where restrictions have been imposed.
Anyone coming back from these areas and who feels unwell is being advised to contact their GP and may require Coronavirus testing.
Anyone travelling to Italy in the next few days is advised to consult the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website, where the other countries and areas listed above are also referenced.
Up to Tuesday, 397 people in Ireland had been tested for the Coronavirus, and the results have been negative – the exceptions being the two confirmed cases known at the time of going to print.
HSE’s advice to help stay healthy and well
In reaction to the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, the HSE has published tips and instructions on prevention, possible symptoms and what to do if you believe you are infected.
Firstly, the Coronavirus is spread through sneezing or cough droplets. You could catch the virus if you come into close contact with someone who has the virus and is sneezing or coughing, or if you touch a surface that has been sneezed or coughed on by a person with the virus.
It is not yet known if someone who has the virus, but who has yet to show any symptoms, can spread the virus.
Wash your hands regularly and often, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, immediately put used tissues into a bin, disinfect any frequently used and touched surfaces, and do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
If you show symptoms of the virus – such as coughing, a shortness of breath, breathing difficulties or have a high temperature – and in the past 14 days have been in contact with someone who has the virus, or who has been in a place or country where the virus has spread, the HSE says do not go to your GP.
Instead, ring your doctor, or alternatively phone 112 or 999 and tell them about your symptoms and give details about your situation.
Make sure to avoid contact with people and self-isolate while Department of Public Health staff give you advice on what to do next.
For more, please visit the HSE website.