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Image / Editorial

HSE ‘cannot dispute’ coronavirus projections but emphasise ‘significant’ containment plans

by Jennifer McShane
08th Mar 2020

The HSE have said they “cannot dispute” that up to 40 per cent of people in Ireland may be infected by the coronavirus.

However, they have said they are working on significant plans to try to keep the virus contained.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio one, CEO of the HSE Paul Reid said that the health service is working to contain the virus and is putting together “significant plans.”

“The phase we’re in right now is the containment phase, it is the prevention, we are putting together very significant plans,” he said.

“Those plans are important and the most appropriate plans for this phase” 

He declined to dispute figures reported in today’s Sunday Business Post which state that up to 40 per cent of the population could be infected with the virus in a concentrated burst over the coming weeks, but also said that the modelling scenario has not been completed yet.

Related: Coronavirus: It is time to do our civic duty

He pointed out that trends in Italy indicate large numbers of cases are possible.

To date, there have been 19 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic, with the latest involving a man in the east of Ireland who had travelled from Italy.

Avoiding travel to Italy

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Irish citizens to avoid travelling to the Italian region of Lombardy.

They also said people should stay away from other Italian provinces — Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna — that have also been placed in isolation.

Related: Coronavirus: We asked an Irish immunologist about the best and worst case scenario

Milan and Venice are among Italian cities which are being shut down today in attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The National Public Health Emergency Team is to give an update on confirmed cases in the country this evening.

Sick pay

Meanwhile, a cabinet sub-committee is to decide on Monday whether workers will be immediately entitled to sickness benefit due to coronavirus.

Those who are forced to self-isolate due to the virus could immediately receive the benefit if the measures are implemented, rather than have the current waiting period of six days.

The move is under consideration after calls from a number of political parties and trade unions to financially support those affected by illness who cannot afford to miss work, health sector workers and the self-employed, such as taxi drivers.

HSE Helpline 1850 24 1850 – Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm and 10am-5pm Sat-Sun

Main photograph: Pexels

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