National Public Health Emergency Team recommends Ireland move to Delay Phase

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Graphic. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)

By Declan Harte

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has made a recommendation that Ireland move to Delay Phase in tackling coronavirus.

NPHET met Wednesday night to review latest evidence of the spread of COVID-19.

There has been a significant increase in recent days, including four in Kinvara, in the number of cases detected in Ireland. A number of clusters in hospital settings with some cases in intensive care and a number of cases arising from community transmissions.  

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control highlighted the rates of detection of coronavirus cases and deaths outside of known chains of transmission. Therefore, isolation is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.

The ECDC also recommended that the measures should be taken early and should be decisive, rapid, coordinated and comprehensive.

Doctor Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Office of the Department of Health said the team have been working with the Health Sector on the impact of the coronavirus.

“The National Public Health Emergency Team and the Health Sector in its entirety has been preparing for the effects of COVID-19 on our population,” said Dr Holohan

“Now, we need citizen’s to follow these new measures and help us protect the most vulnerable in our society, help our health service treat this virus effectively and ultimately keep each other as healthy as possible.”

Today, Ireland introduced new measures as part of its effort to interrupt the transmission of the coronavirus:

Individuals who have symptoms should self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Individuals should reduce discretionary social contacts as much as possible.

Elderly and/or medically vulnerable people should reduce as much as possible contacts outside home.

There should be no mass gatherings;

a)        involving more than 100 people if located indoors

b)        involving more than 500 people if located outdoors

Closure of museums, galleries and tourism sites.

Closure to students of schools, creches, other childcare facilities and higher education institutions.

Reduction of workplace contacts, and implementation of remote working practices and teleconferencing where possible and not to travel for meetings. Work time and break times should be staggered, where possible.

Restriction of visiting at hospitals, long term care settings, mental health facilities, prisons, and spacing measures in homeless shelters.

NPHET further recommends that these measures should be introduced until March 29. The impact of these measures will be under continuous review.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to show.

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