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Coronavirus: Leave for Irish troops in Lebanon and Syria cancelled as borders close

All leave is cancelled for Irish troops deployed to Lebanon and Syria.

The two states have closed their borders to travellers from countries affected by Covid-19, which now includes Ireland.

Over 500 troops are involved in peacekeeping efforts across two UN missions.

Gerard Guinan, general secretary of representative group PDFORRA, says the move is "desperately unfortunate" for the soldiers and their families.

"When you are there, you have a job to do and your thoughts will be with your family but you have to focus on the situation at hand," he said.

This is the life of a soldier, we have a very difficult job at the best of times but we are professionals.

[ul][b]Useful information[/b] [li]The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here [/li] [li]Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;[/li] [li]GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.[/li] [li]ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024[/li] [/ul]