Suspected coronavirus cases in Ireland total 65

State remains prepared for confirmed case of the virus, says Department of Health officer

 A dog wears a muzzle  in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: Getty Images

A dog wears a muzzle in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Sixty-five people suspected of having the new coronavirus have been tested in Ireland, the Department of Health has said, but all results were negative.

The department’s national public health emergency team (NPHET) added that it remains the case that there are no confirmed cases here of Covid-19 – the official name given to the virus by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday.

The State remains prepared for a confirmed case of the virus, the chief medical officer at the department, Dr Tony Holohan, said.

“The Irish health system is currently operating a containment strategy in line with global practice, and all our efforts are focused on identifying suspected cases as they arise and initiating measures to prevent onward transmission of the virus.”

The NPHET is continuing to co-ordinate the response effort between the health service and other Government agencies, to ensure a comprehensive response in the event of a confirmed case.

HSE chief executive Paul Reid said all hospitals have plans in place to deal with any increase in demand due to a viral threat, including from Covid-19. “A lot of preparation work has been done and a range of options are being looked at to deal with all scenarios.”

According to Mr Reid, more than 4,800 packs of personal protective equipment – including gowns and masks – have been supplied to GP out-of-hours services and surgeries, while a further 1,200 packs were due to go out to GP practices on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed cases in the EU remains “low”, and no new countries have reported cases in the past 24 hours, Dr Cillian de Gascun, chair of the State’s Coronavirus Expert Advisory Group, noted.