A second case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland.
According to the Department of Health, the affected person is a female in the east of the country, who recently travelled from northern Italy. It said that the process of tracing contacts of the patient has begun.
As of March 2, 397 people have been tested for the virus here, while internationally, over 91,000 cases have been confirmed. Some 11,480 of these cases are outside of China, including over 2,000 cases in Italy.
Speaking at a Department of Health press briefing, chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said that the department has changed its advice relating to travel to Italy. It is now recommending "the avoidance of non-essential travel" to the four affected provinces of northern Italy.
Previously, people were being warned to avoid 11 specific towns in northern Italy. Anyone who has planned to travel to Italy in the coming days is asked to check the Department of Foreign Affairs' website here.
In relation to the St Patrick's Day festival, Dr Holohan said that as things appear now, it looks likely that this will go ahead, however "our advice in relation to mass gatherings may well change depending on the status of the infection and as part of our response to that".
"We will be guided by international advice in relation to that, but as things now stand, we see no reason why that wouldn't take place," he commented.
The first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland at the weekend, while the first case on the island of Ireland was confirmed in Northern Ireland last week.
Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person's body fluids (e.g. droplets from coughing or sneezing), or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to show. These may include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).
COVID-19 can also cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and severe breathing difficulties.
Anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms, should self-isolate and call their GP.
Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP.
In an effort to stop the spread of the illness, people are recommended to wash their hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, and cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough and sneeze. If no tissue is available, cough into your elbow, not your hands.
For more information on COVID-19, click here or here.
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