A second person diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus) has died in the Republic, the Department of Health has confirmed.
There have also been 39 new confirmed cases of the illness today (March 14), bringing the total to 129 here. Thirty-four cases have also been confirmed in Northern Ireland.
It is understood that the person who died had an underlying health condition.
Among the 39 new cases, 29 are male and 10 are female. Twenty-one of these cases are in the east of the country, 13 in the south, three in the north west and two in the west.
The department's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, extended his condolences to the family and friends of the patient who died.
He also called on all citizens to follow public health measures.
"It is up to every one of us to play our role in slowing down the spread of this disease. Today's increase in cases reinforces the necessity of the measures put in place last week, including hand and respiratory hygiene, social distancing, school closures and limiting the size of mass gatherings.
"I urge every citizen to follow these measures to protect our people, especially the most vulnerable in our society," he commented.
He noted that emergency services have been under immense pressure and urged people to only call 999/112 if there is an genuine emergency.
"This is not an advice line. If you have flu-like symptoms, self isolate at home until Monday and visit hse.ie for advice. You can call your GP on Monday morning and they will decide if you need a test. Please only call 999 or GP-out-of hours for emergencies," he said.
The department's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn, pointed out that there have been "many anecdotal stories" about people ignoring social distancing guidelines.
"We are in an unprecedented global situation. Everyone in the country must play their part in protecting the most vulnerable, and slowing down the spread of this disease," he insisted.
Meanwhile, the HSE said that it is currently working to ensure that sufficient testing facilities will be in place by Monday to meet the increased demand for tests.
It emphasised that GP out-of-hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. Likewise, HSELive is an information line and is not in a position to order testing for members of the public.
According to the HSE's chief clinical officer, Dr Colm Henry, he understands that people are concerned and anxious. However, he asked for people's patience "as we respond to the increasing requirement for testing".
"We will all work together as a health service to provide the information you need, and to provide the testing and healthcare needed for those who do develop illness due to COVID-19.
"The public should go to the HSE website in the first instance if they are concerned about COVID-19," Dr Henry said.
To limit the spread of COVID-19, people should:
-Practice social distancing and avoid crowded places
-Wash their hands properly and often
-Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, or cough and sneeze into their elbow
-Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
-Stay at home if they are sick to avoid spread of whatever infection they have.
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. However, 80% of cases will be mild to moderate. Some 14% will be more severe, while 6% will be critical.
For more information on COVID-19, click here.
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