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Fifteen patients in hospitals here tested for coronavirus

 

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Warning of case here: HSE chief Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Warning of case here: HSE chief Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Warning of case here: HSE chief Dr Tony Holohan. Photo: Frank McGrath

A test for coronavirus has been carried out on 15 patients in Ireland so far.

But to date nobody has tested positive, health officials said yesterday.

The patients who had potential symptoms of the virus, which has caused more than 580 deaths and infected some 28,000 people globally, had to be isolated while the test on a swab was carried out in the Virus Reference Laboratory in UCD.

Chief medical officer of the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan warned that due to the spread of the illness internationally it is now "possible" Ireland could see a case of the virus confirmed.

Dr Cillian De Gascun of the virus laboratory said the fact that sustained human-to-human transmission - where an infected patient passed it on to another - was not seen in any country outside China was a "positive indicator" in the global bid to halt its spread.

The HSE earlier said isolation rooms which can be used for suspected patients have been identified in all hospitals.

It also plans to distribute protective wear to GPs this week for their safety in dealing with a suspected case.

It comes as a third person tested positive for coronavirus in the UK and is believed to be the first Briton infected by the deadly contagion, having picked it up in Singapore.

The patient went to A&E at the Royal Sussex in Brighton on Sunday night after suffering from flu-like symptoms before being transferred to Guy's Hospital in London.

The patient, understood to be a man, was whisked off to be quarantined for at least two weeks in a specialist infectious diseases unit at Guy's in London Bridge.

Meanwhile, two Irish passengers on board the Diamond Princess luxury cruise liner off the coast of Japan, which has been stricken by an outbreak of the virus, will remain in quarantine in their cabins for at least 12 more days.

Meals are being taken to them by staff in masks and protective clothing.

So far, 20 people among 102 whose results had been confirmed were found to be infected, with 171 others nervously awaiting their results.

Irish Independent