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Irishman who attended Cheltenham festival tests positive for Covid-19



CRITICISM: Huge crowds attended the Cheltenham Festival last week. PA via Reuters

CRITICISM: Huge crowds attended the Cheltenham Festival last week. PA via Reuters

CRITICISM: Huge crowds attended the Cheltenham Festival last week. PA via Reuters

AN IRISHMAN who attended the Cheltenham racing festival two weeks ago has tested positive for Covid-19.

The man - who is based in the south - is not seriously ill and has not
required hospitalisation.

However, he has been told to remain in strict self-isolation.

His medical condition is being carefully monitored amid concerns over how those initially displaying only mild symptoms of the coronavirus infection can suddenly deteriorate within a matter of hours.

His self-quarantine is so strict that he was warned not even to collect work equipment and machinery to bring to the safety of his home.

Contact-tracing is now underway to locate all those who were in close contact with the man.

It is unclear whether the man contracted Covid-19 in Cheltenham or in Ireland.

He lives and works in relatively close proximity to two known clusters of virus detections in Ireland, both in the south.

If the Cheltenham link is confirmed, it will represent the third major zone of travel-related infection in Ireland - with cases here previously linked to travel to Italy and France/Spain.

Ireland has a total of 785 Covid-19 cases - with 300,000 cases worldwide.

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Italy has now surpassed China in terms of the number of deaths.

More than 20,000 Irish horse racing fans attended the four day Cheltenham festival two weeks ago despite mounting concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Cheltenham confirmed its first case of Covid-19 in the days before the festival opened.

The Cotswold venue annually attracts more than 20,000 Irish racing fans for what is considered the highlight of the national hunt calendar.

It is estimated that more than €30,000 is gambled every second of the four day event - with total betting estimated at more than €300 million.

However, it took place despite the widespread cancellation of sporting and cultural events in Ireland.

Covid-19 detections are now soaring in the UK and one hospital had to trigger special measures as its emergency department reached maximum capacity.

In Ireland to date, community transmission accounts for 42pc of cases while close contact accounts for a further 23pc.

Some 35pc of Covid-19 detections are linked to overseas travel.

In overall terms, some 20pc of cases remain undetermined and under investigation.

Ireland is now massively expanding its Covid-19 testing regime with three Naval Service vessels berthed in Dublin, Cork and Galway to support on-shore testing centres from tomorrow.

Health Service Executive (HSE) boss Paud Reid will today outline arrangements for the special quayside testing centres which are being supported by the Naval Service.

The three vessels will act as support bases for onshore testing centres - with Covid-19 testing staff supported by electricity supplies, accommodation, food preparation, water supplies and even equipment storage on the berthed vessels.

However, testing will not take place on the vessels.

LE Samuel Beckett has been assigned to Dublin, LE William Butler Yeats has been sent to Galway and LE Eithne has been deployed to Cork's upper docks.

LE Eithne is the fleet flagship but had been out of service for the past six months and was docked at Haulbowline Naval Base.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland

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