Coronavirus: No restrictions on public events, officials say

Guidelines on holding of gatherings are currently being finalised by authorities

 Dr Tony Holohan, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer,  addresses  a media briefing on Covid-19 (coronavirus)  at the Department of Health in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Dr Tony Holohan, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer, addresses a media briefing on Covid-19 (coronavirus) at the Department of Health in Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

No public events are facing restrictions arising from the coronavirus outbreak, public health officials have said.

Guidelines on the holding of mass gatherings are currently being finalised with a view to restricting the spread of the virus. The outbreak has already forced the postponement of the Ireland-Italy rugby match due to take place this weekend.

However, the Department of Health’s chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said “at the moment, there are no implications for any event, large or small, in this country.

“As things stand, on the basis of our assessment, we see no implication for the St Patrick’s Day parade, and we don’t see that changing,” Dr Holohan told journalists at the daily briefing from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) on Wednesday.

Dr Holohan warned against “unilateral actions” by “well-intentioned” people in communities which run the risk of creating confusion or reinforcing sterotypes.

While not referring to specific incidents - a Co Meath school closed on Wednesday due to fears over the virus - Dr Holohan said it was important that whatever happened in local communities “is informed by clear advice”.

He said he understood why people might be concerned but there was information and guidance available on what to do from the HSE, which could assuage concerns.

Again defending the official stance on not naming the school where the first confirmed case is a student, he said the confidentiality of people had to be protected and there was no public interest in “going further”.

The process of tracing the contacts of the second confirmed case in the Republic, who tested positive on Tuesday, is still ongoing, Dr John Cuddihy, director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said.

No new cases had been confirmed on Wednesday at the time of the press briefing.