A female in the east of the country who contracted COVID-19 (coronavirus) has died, it has been confirmed. This is the first recorded death relating to COVID-19 in Ireland.
It is understood the woman, who was being treated in hospital at the time of her death, was older and had an underlying illness.
The Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, extended his condolences to the family and friends of the patient. He also urged the media and the public to respect their privacy at this difficult time.
Including the woman who has died, there have been 34 confirmed cases of the virus in the Republic of Ireland, with a further 18 cases in Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the spread of COVID-19 can now be declared a pandemic. A pandemic refers to the worldwide spread of a new disease. So far, over 118,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in 114 countries worldwide. More than 4,200 people have died.
The WHO said it is "deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction" in some areas.
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.
Everyone is asked to follow public health advice, including the following protective measures:
-Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
-Maintain at least one metre (three feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
-Practice cough and sneeze hygiene - covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
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.
For more information on COVID-19, click here or here.
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