Concerned about COVID-19? Stay safe with the facts on Coronavirus in Ireland.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19), is the new respiratory illness that originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It has now affected people in over 30 countries including Europe. The virus is a global public health concern as it is transmitted from human to human and can cause serious illness including Pneumonia.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has just confirmed a case of Coronavirus in Northern Ireland and that the patient, who is in isolation and receiving treatment in Northern Ireland, had travelled through the Republic of Ireland. Anyone who was identified as being in close contact with the patient has been contacted. The HSE currently says the risk of catching Coronavirus in Ireland is still low. Whilst this may change, at the moment most people may continue to go to work, school and other public places, as usual.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of Coronavirus are fever, tiredness and dry cough. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Who is at risk of serious illness from Coronavirus?

Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and people with underlying medical issues such as diabetes or heart problems, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2% of those with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How do I protect myself from Coronavirus?

World Health Organization has recommended a series of tips everyone can use to protect themselves from Coronavirus. There is currently no vaccine.

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Should I wear a face mask? 

According to the World Health Organization, people with no respiratory conditions such as a cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. WHO recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever.

The WHO advises against the unnecessary use of medical masks to avoid wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks

What next?

Stay informed on the latest developments about Coronavirus. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, the HSE or your employer on how to protect yourself and others.

For more information on the Coronavirus see here.