Dublin school to close for two weeks after pupil confirmed to have COVID-19
01st Mar 2020
A school in the east of the country will close for 14 days after being confirmed as ‘close contacts’ of the first case of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland
The principal, staff and parents of pupils of the school have been notified.
Following risk assessment, all pupils and teachers are being treated as “close contacts” of the confirmed case, the National Public Health Emergency Team said.
The school will close for the duration of the incubation period, which is 14 days.
All pupils and teachers are being asked to restrict their movements until the end of the incubation period.
This is the first case in the Republic, as confirmed on Saturday evening.
The case is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case in Northern Ireland.
The patient, a male in the eastern part of the country, is currently receiving “appropriate medical care”.
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: “This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now.”
He also urged the media to protect patient privacy and insisted they would not name the school with the infected student.
“We are conscious of our responsibility to protect the patients and individuals who report themselves to health authorities. We call on the media to respect patient confidentiality and understand our efforts to protect the privacy of the people we serve,” he said on Sunday.
It is understood the risk to other pupils in the school is considered low but the closure has been ordered on a precautionary basis. Students are being told to self-isolate at home and to indicate if they start showing any symptoms.
Dr John Cuddihy, director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: “The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread.
“It is important to note that the risk of transmission through casual contact is low.”
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
Related: WATCH: Two pathologists debunk commonly believed coronavirus myths
Over 100 tests have been carried out on people in the Republic so far.
It is the second case of coronavirus on the island of Ireland, after the first case in Northern Ireland was confirmed earlier this week.
The general public is advised to follow advice from the HSE and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre to protect their health.
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