19/02/2020

Advice As Coronavirus Outbreak Continues

A total of 35 tests for suspected coronavirus have been carried out in Northern Ireland, the Public Health Agency has said.

No cases have been confirmed in the region with all tests coming back as negative as of today, Tuesday 19 February.

Despite the assurances, the health service is monitoring for possible cases of COVID-19 and issued advice for travellers.

Novel coronavirus has swept the world in recent weeks with over 75,000 cases confirmed, 1,000 of which are outside mainland China.

It has now killed over 2,000 people, all but six of them in mainland China.

The Public Health Agency is working with partners across the UK including Public Health England, as well as the Department of Health and health trusts in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on the ongoing global response.
News Image
Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: "Belfast Trust's Regional Viral Laboratory is now one of 12 UK centres testing for novel coronavirus. Until this week, all samples taken from people suspected of having the virus in Northern Ireland were sent to England for testing, but the new local facility will speed up results.

"A helpline has also been established for anyone in Northern Ireland who has travelled to China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau in the past 14 days. The helpline number is 0300 200 7885 and is available 24/7.

"To help reduce any potential spread of coronavirus, we are urging people to follow the steps that we recommend for similar illnesses such as cold and flu – catch it, bin it, kill it. Always carry tissues to catch your cough or sneeze, dispose of the tissue as soon as possible after using it, and clean your hands as soon as you can as germs can spread to every surface you touch."

Those who have travelled to the aforementioned areas should stay indoors and avoid contact with others for at least 14 days after they arrive. They should also contact their GP by phone and are advised not to attend a surgery or hospital without phoning ahead.

Anyone who is not registered with a GP is advised to contact their local Emergency Department.



(JG/MH)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 January 2011
Swine Flu Claims Three More Irish Lives
While the health protection authorities have said the swine flu virus "has peaked" there were still two more deaths in Northern Ireland from swine flu last week and a further fatality across the Irish border.
03 September 2008
Changes Loom On Health Care
News of a radical shake-up proposed for health and social care in Belfast is not the only changes afoot as the way that health promotion is delivered across Northern Ireland is also being changed.
23 March 2020
Covid-19: Cases Rise As More People Are Tested
Testing in Northern Ireland has resulted in 20 new cases of coronavirus, bringing totals in the region to 148. An elderly individual yesterday became the second person to lose their life after testing positive for Covid-19. The patient had an underlying medical condition and was receiving treatment in hospital.
10 November 2011
Mental Health Issues No Workforce Barrier
People with mental health issues are making a significant contribution to the workforce. Far from being any burden, the Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, has highlighted the significant contribution that those with mental health issues make to Northern Ireland's workforce.
17 June 2015
Number Of People With HIV Almost Doubles In Ten Years – PHA
Northern Ireland had the biggest rise in new HIV diagnoses compared to the rest of the UK between 2000-2013, according to new figures. The number of people living with HIV has almost doubled over the last two years, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has announced.