A passenger who arrived in Dublin Airport on a flight from Moscow on Saturday night is still believed to be under observation at the Mater Hospital while he undergoes screening to assess if he has coronavirus.
t could be tomorrow before the man, who is understood to have originally travelled from China, is diagnosed or given the all-clear.
The National Public Health Emergency (NPHE) team has said it will not comment on unconfirmed cases of the virus but stressed that as of February 1 there were no confirmed cases in Ireland.
It would not confirm if there are any suspected cases or anyone undergoing assessment either.
The Dublin Airport Authority divert all queries about the incident to the Department of Health.
The Aeroflot flight arrived in Dublin Airport at around 9pm whereupon it was met by medical personnel in hazmat suits who boarded the flight to speak to the man, who told them he had come from China via Moscow, it is reported.
It is understood there was no issue raised about the passenger’s health throughout the flight.
Other passengers have reportedly said that their temperatures were checked before they were allowed to disembark, and they had to fill out forms and told they might be contacted in a few days.
The passengers were allowed off the plane at 11pm, and it is understood the passenger who was taken away by ambulance was brought to an isolation room in the Mater Hospital which has been set up as part of the Irish response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
A Co Longford doctor, Laura Noonan, was on the flight and posted details of the incident on her Facebook page Laura’s Russian Lifeline.
Dr Noonan had been in Russia to receive treatment for a rare illness she has, and said she had only been on the flight because she was so weak she had to travel home earlier than she had planned.
She posted a photograph of the information sheet from the HSE and HPSE (Health Protection Surveillance Centre) which indicated to passengers that they had been on a flight from Moscow with a possible case of novel Coronavirus.
It advised avoiding contact with other people as much as possible that night.
“If you become ill, especially with cough, sore throat, breathlessness or high temperature stay at home or in your hotel room and phone a doctor or 999 for advice, mentioning that you were on this flight. A public health doctor will contact you tomorrow,” the advice sheet stated.
Dr Noonan also posted photographs of a person in a hazmat suit on the plane, and an ambulance on the ground beside the plane.
Today she wrote that she had been feeling very unwell since arriving home and she was tempted to go to hospital as planned when she boarded the flight home with her husband.
“But we couldn’t. We are observing the self enforced isolation in our home. We won’t be seeing anyone or going anywhere until this case of suspected coronavirus is either confirmed or excluded,” wrote Laura.
The statement from the NPHE said Ireland has advanced plans in place as part of its comprehensive preparedness to deal with public health emergencies such as novel Coronavirus.
“The aim of these plans in Ireland, at this point in the response to novel Coronavirus, is one of containment. This seeks to maximise the chance of a case being detected should one arise here and to prevent it being transmitted to another person,” it said.
“The activation of protocols that achieve this is a core and expected feature of our preparedness and ongoing response. The protocol always ensures that the people involved are fully communicated with and are aware of what is going on,” it added.