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Image / Editorial

HSE recommends Ireland vs Italy Six Nations game cancelled amid Coronavirus fears


by Jennifer McShane
25th Feb 2020
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The Department of Health’s National Public Health Emergency Team recommended the game’s postponement at a meeting on Tuesday afternoon


The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said it was seeking “an urgent meeting” with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris “as to the specific reasoning behind calling for the cancellation of the Ireland v Italy Six Nations fixture in the context of the Government’s overall travel policy to and from Italy and other affected countries.

The game is scheduled to take place in the Aviva Stadium on March 7th.

Minister Harris announced this evening after a meeting of the National Public Health Emergency Team that a recommendation had been made to cancel the upcoming fixture, “in the interest of public safety.”

The advice was based on the “rapidly evolving nature of the outbreak in northern Italy, and the consequent risk of importation of cases into Ireland, were the match to go ahead,” Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer in the Department of Health, said, adding that Ireland was still in the “containment phase” when it came to the virus.

“Based on European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) guidelines, the cancellation of mass gatherings in this phase is justified in exceptional circumstances, and today’s recommendation to cancel the Ireland v Italy rugby match is based on the rapidly evolving nature of the outbreak in northern Italy, and the consequent risk of importation of cases into Ireland were the match to go ahead,” he added.

Urgent meeting

The IRFU, however, still said they wanted to meet to discuss the decision.

“The IRFU is seeking an urgent meeting with Minister Harris as to the specific reasoning behind calling for the cancellation of the Ireland v Italy Six Nations fixture in the context of the Government’s overall travel policy to and from Italy and other affected countries,” the IRFU said.

Minister Harris confirmed he would meet the IRFU on Wednesday morning, saying the decision made was not taken lightly.

Coronavirus symptoms

It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of Coronavirus to appear.

These symptoms may include:

  • a cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties
  • fever (high temperature)

Coronavirus can also cause more severe illness including:

  • pneumonia
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • kidney failure

If there is a case here, health professionals will try to contact anyone who has been in contact with the infected person.

If you are not contacted, you are extremely unlikely to catch coronavirus.

You do not need to follow any advice in relation to coronavirus if you have:

  • not been to mainland China
  • not been in contact with a person who has coronavirus
  • not been to a healthcare facility where patients with coronavirus were treated
  • recently returned from Hong Kong or Macau and have not travelled through mainland China

For more information, visit: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus 


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