The Republic of Ireland confirmed its first case of Coronavirus on the 29th of February, 2020. The patient reportedly came into the country from Northern Italy, an affected area of the world currently battling with a severe outbreak of Coronavirus.
According to HSE, the patient is currently receiving treatment in hospital. Public health specialists are working to identify the people they may have come into contact with in order to prevent the disease spreading further.
December 2019 saw the outbreak of a deadly virus called CoronaVirus. It started in , the Wuhan Captial of the Hubei Province of China. Whilst the majority of the cases are in China, other countries including the the United States, Britain, Italy, Iran and now Nigeria have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, since the 31st of December, 2019 and as of the 3rd of March, 2020, 90,663 cases of COVID-19 cases have been reported, including 3,124 deaths. The majority of these deaths occurred in China, accounting for about 2,946 deaths.
On the 30th of January, 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern. Also, on the 12th of February, 2020, the novel virus was named Severe Acute Syndrome (SARS CoV-2) while the disease associated with it is now referred to as COVID-19.
Public health responses in China and around the world have included travel restrictions, curfews and quarantines as some of the measures to curb the spread of the virus. In China, the central government imposed a lock-down in Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province to quarantine the epicentre of the outbreak of the virus. Also, the British cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japanese waters was also quarantined.
Several countries have also issued advisory warnings to their citizens against travelling to cities and countries with high incidents of the disease.
The primary mode of transmission is human-to-human via respiratory droplets, especially through coughing and sneezing. There is a need to be careful as these droplets could fall on surfaces such as tables, chairs, phones and desks. People can get infected by touching these droplets and then touching their nose, mouth or eyes.
Health specialists have adviced the general public to maintain good hygiene to prevent transmission of the disease, by washing hands the recommended way using soap and water or alcohol-based hand-sanitisers when soap and water are not readily available. There is also a need to maintain good respiratory hygiene by using a tissue when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of droplets, and disposing of the tissue properly. If a tissue isn’t to hand, people have been advised to cough or sneeze into the inside of their elbow.
Carers working either at their client’s home or at a health care facility are advised to securely wear surgical masks. The masks are to be used only once.
Individuals who think they may have been exposed to the virus and stand a risk of getting infected with COVID-19 are advised to restrict their movement to their homes, avoid public places, and get medical help.
At the moment, there is no known cure for the disease. However, feverish research is underway in several countries around the world. Currently a vaccine is estimated to be at least a year away. Recommended current treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms using cold medication, drinking fluids and taking a lot of rest. Depending on the severity, breathing support, oxygen and intravenous fluids may also be used.
Today, we went out on the streets of Dublin to ask people if they are worried about the disease here in Ireland. Click here to watch.