Patients with the new coronavirus who refuse to comply with isolation restrictions may be subjected to an enforced form of quarantine under new plans by the Department of Health, it was claimed today.
The HSE confirmed today that the proposal - similar to that already drawn up in the UK this week – may come into force here and is being probed by the Department of Health.
There is already legislation in place covering the enforced isolation of people with certain infectious diseases such as TB, Dr Kevin Kelleher, head of health protection in the HSE told a briefing.
The issue of how to include a patient with the coronavirus is now being explored, he added.
Anyone with the virus is recommended to self-isolate for up to fourteen days to avoid passing it on to others.
Earlier this week the Department of Health denied it was considering these measures in response to questions from Independent.ie.
A Department spokeswoman said: ”The approach which has been taken to date in Ireland is in line with guidance from the WHO and ECDC.
“The Department is not currently planning additional measures related to quarantine or enforced isolation.“
To date 65 people have been tested for the coronavirus here and all have tested negative. Public health doctors said they are erring on the side of caution and have a low threshold for deciding to carry out a test on someone with potential symptoms.
The apparent stabilisation in reported new cases of the coronavirus is reassuring but it is too early to predict if the epidemic is coming under control, Dr Michael Ryan, the Irish-born World Health Organisation (WHO) executive, said yesterday.