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Image / Editorial

Coronavirus in Northern Ireland: HSE seeks passengers who were seated near patient on Dublin flight


by Erin Lindsay
28th Feb 2020
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The HSE is seeking to contact any passengers who may have been seated near or made contact with the person, as they may be at risk of contracting coronavirus


The HSE and the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland are working to contact any passengers who may have come into contact with the first adult on the island of Ireland to contract coronavirus.

The first case of Covid-19 was confirmed last night, as news broke that an adult who had flown from northern Italy to Dublin, and then traveled on to Belfast, had been diagnosed with the virus.

Staff in Dublin airport and from the relevant airline will have the information of passengers on the affected flight, and the HSE will make contact with those at risk of contracting the virus. According to guidelines, those sitting two seats in all directions of the affected passenger will be considered as having been in contact. The guidelines also define ‘close contact’ as face to face contact or spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an infected person.

When, not if

Speaking on the Nine O’Clock news on RTÉ last night, Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, praised the diagnosed passenger for following HSE guidelines on the virus, saying that he/she had made the relevant authorities aware of his/her condition and self-isolated without visiting a GP’s office or A&E department.

Both Minister for Health Simon Harris and Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride have said that the diagnosis comes as no surprise to the health authorities ?— Dr McBride said that “it was a question of when not if.”

The HSE have laid out specific guidelines for those who have been in contact with the Covid-19 virus, or are concerned that they may have contracted the disease.  They advise the following for those who have either been in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Iran, or the areas of Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna or Piedmont in Italy, or who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus:

If you are feeling well

If you’re feeling well, go about your daily routine as normal. Avoid spending time with people who are ill with a cough, high temperature or breathing problems and follow the normal advice to protect yourself against infection.

If you are feeling unwell

If you start to develop symptoms of the virus, which are fever (high temperature), cough or difficulty breathing, phone your GP or your local emergency department right away. Do not go straight to their offices ?— call them first. They will advise the best course of action for your symptoms, but in the meantime, self-isolate. This means staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people.


Read more: Confirmed: Coronavirus Northern Ireland: What we know

Read more: Orange weather alert issued as Storm Jorge prepares to hit Ireland

Read more: #ThankYouLaura: Laura Brennan hailed following ‘significant’ HPV vaccination uptake

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