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Coronavirus patient in Ireland speaks out about diagnosis and life in isolation

A coronavirus patient in Ireland who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 has spoken about the disease from his hospital bed.

The man is one of 24 confirmed Corvid-19 cases in Ireland.

In an interview with Claire Byrne on RTÉ's Claire Byrne Live, the man spoke about being diagnosed with Covid19 and what happened after it was confirmed.

The patient, who spoke by phone and was not identified, said that a couple of days after being abroad for a short trip, he "started to have a little bit of fever".

He said the only symptom he had was that fever.

"I didn't have any respiratory problem, any lung inflammation, any cough, any sneezing so [it] was just the fever but again based on the fact I was abroad I preferred to self-isolate myself anyway because I was not sure if it was safe to go around.

"But I didn't have any severe symptoms. I actually feel great now."

Explaining why he contacted health officials, he said: "Given that I was abroad I decided to self-isolate myself and call and explain the situation.

"So what they did was send a medical officer to my apartment and the medical officer took a swab of my throat and nose.

"After 24 hours I was notified about the positivity of the test and an ambulance picked me up at my place and drove me to the hospital."

When asked if the medical officer came in protective gear, the patient said he "was fully, let's say, dressed up".

After finding out he had tested positive for Covid-19, the patient said it was less than an hour before he was taken to hospital.

"So basically the HSE called me back and they notified me. They had a lot of questions about people I was in contact with, about my co-workers, and these kind of things just to understand if someone else could have got the virus from me."

Then in less than an hour the ambulance was at my place and they picked me up and they drove me to the hospital very quickly.

The patient said he has been in isolation since and is in a private room.

"I am being tested every day for the virus and when I (test) negative for two consecutive days, it means I will be free of the virus and I can go back home," he said.

The patient said being in isolation in the hospital is "boring", adding: "I am here and I just have to read, watch some movies and that's the only things. Apart from that I am fine."

He said he has not been told how long it will take for the virus to work through his system, saying it depends on the person.

"I think it depends on person to person. It depends on the symptoms you had; if they are more severe it may take longer.

"I am just waiting here and hope that it will happen soon."

The Department of Health confirmed three new cases of Covid-19 today, bringing to 24 the number of confirmed cases in Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Government announced today that St Patrick's Day parades across the country "will not proceed". The decision was made based on advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team.

The Government has also announced a package of €3bn to support HSE workers who have to take sick leave, and businesses impacted by the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Varadkar said 60% of the population could contract Covid-19.

“What we have seen from other countries and what we have seen from what is available at the moment, is that we could we could easily have 50% or 60% of our population contracting Covid-19.

“For the vast majority of the population this will be a mild illness and may even by asymptomatic. However there will be a significant part of the population who will require critical care.

“A percentage that we don’t honestly know yet – it could be 1% or 3% – mortality. We just don’t know that with any degree of certainty. It is not the kind of thing we have seen in a very long time.”

Mr Varadkar said he thinks the Irish health system “will cope as best as possible”.

"This won’t be an ordinary situation If you consider the numbers of people who could become very ill…even if the health service was twice the size it is now we will struggle.

It will be like nothing in our living memory.

    Useful information

  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • 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 - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

- additional reporting by Press Association