Twenty new cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) have been confirmed in the Republic, the Department of Health has said.
It confirmed the cases on Friday evening and said that of these, 12 were associated with contacts of confirmed cases. Four of these are healthcare workers.
A further six are associated with travel, while two are cases of community transmission.
There are now 90 confirmed cases in the Republic, with a further 29 cases in Northern Ireland. Of these 90 cases, six are in intensive care.
Earlier this week, the first death of a COVID-19 patient occurred in the east of the country. The female was older and had an underlying illness.
"The National Public Health Emergency Team will continue to monitor the ongoing threat of this virus and will take actions where necessary. For people returning from areas affected by COVID-19, we strongly encourage the individual to restrict their movements," commented the department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan.
Meanwhile, with schools and childcare facilities now closed until at least March 29, the department's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, urged parents not to arrange play dates for their children.
"We appreciate these measures have a significant impact on the daily lives of families. However, they are necessary for the public good. Parents should try and avoid arranging play dates for groups of young children at this early stage of the outbreak.
"However, rather than staying indoors, consider outdoor activities such as playing football in the open in small groups of three or four while maintaining social distancing of two metres," he suggested.
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.
For more information on COVID-19, click here or here.
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