School in east of country to be shut after teachers and students came into contact with Coronavirus patient

School in east of country to be shut after teachers and students came into contact with Coronavirus patient
Minister for Health, Simon Harris at the Coronavirus/COVID-19 advice stand at the arrivals baggage claim hall in Dublin Airport pictured. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

THE National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has announced that a secondary school will shut for 14 days following the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the south of Ireland.

A man in the east of Ireland was confirmed to be to the first Covid-19 patient yesterday.

The patient developed symptoms after travelling back from northern Italy, the centre of Europe's largest outbreak, and authorities have been working to identify those who have had contact with the patient.

The NPHET said that contact tracing of the confirmed case has identified and made contact with a secondary school.

They said that the principal, staff and parents of pupils of this school have been notified.

The statement said: "Following risk assessment, all pupils and teachers are being treated as close contacts of the confirmed case.

"The school will close for the duration of the incubation period, which is 14 days.

"All pupils and teachers are being asked to restrict their movements until the end of the incubation period and will receive guidance on the meaning of ‘restricted movements’.

"Public health doctors will actively follow-up with all students and teachers on a daily basis over the coming 14 days."

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: "Contact tracing has assessed that close contacts of this patient includes pupils and teachers of a secondary school.

"Public health doctors are in direct contact with pupils, their parents and the staff involved.

"Patient confidentiality in this case, and in all cases, should be respected. The Department of Health will provide updated information as necessary."

The Department of Education added it is available to assist the school in any way necessary.

"The Departments of Education and Health are in regular contact," said a statement.

"The closing of this school was a decision made on public health grounds after risk assessment deemed it appropriate. All other schools will remain open.

"The Departments will continue to communicate with all schools on this issue."

The Lord Mayor of Cork John Sheehan, a practicing GP, warned last week that it is only a matter of time before a case arrives in Cork.

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