‘It doesn’t work.’
Cork Airport has shared advice from the HSE on social media this morning to explain why incoming passengers will not be screened for high body temperature in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
According to the HSE, screening is not recommended by the World Health Organisation and past instances have shown it doesn’t work.
“Thousands or arriving travellers were screened during SARS, but no confirmed cases were identified,” according to the statement.
“Entry screening measures worldwide during 2009 Pandemic (H1N1) picked up only a tiny proportion of cases.”
The HSE says that screening also has unintended consequences, such as forcing passengers with a fever to conceal their symptoms using medication. The high cost and the fact that screening diverts public health resources from more evidence-based measures like contact tracing were also listed.
— Cork Airport (@CorkAirport) March 9, 2020
New case confirmed
Meanwhile two healthcare workers at the Bons Secours hospital have been asked to self-isolate.
The measure was taken after an elderly man who had been admitted to the hospital on College Road for treatment for pneumonia was diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Ireland to 21.
It is believed the latest case was contracted via community transmission, leaving experts struggling to identify a source of infection. The patient is being treated in an isolated room at the hospital.
In a statement, hospital management said, “The patient is being cared for in a single room and contact precautions have been in place since the patient’s arrival. To protect patient privacy, we will make no further comment on the case.
“Coronavirus response teams have been in place at the Bon Secours health system for some time, with working groups at each facility and at group level.”
At Cork University Hospital, more than 100 staff have been asked to self-isolate and outpatient appointments have been rescheduled until Wednesday as management assess the situation.
GPs have asked patients with respiratory symptoms to contact them by phone before making an appointment.
The most important times to wash your hands are
✔before preparing food
✔after preparing food
✔ before eating food
✔after eating food
✔after using the toilet
✔after being in contact with a sick person#Resistinfection #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/mWNpp4mekK
— HSE Ireland (@HSELive) March 8, 2020
Cabinet Covid-19 committee to meet this morning
The government’s Cabinet Covid-19 committee is meeting this morning to discuss sick pay for workers who are advised to self-isolate.
Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister for Health Simon Harris said that while Ireland is “at an early stage of progression” in relation to coronavirus spread, there is a “moderate to high” risk we will follow a pattern seen in other EU countries.
Final decisions on whether the country’s upcoming St Patrick’s Day parades and festivals should go ahead will be made today, with a number of smaller celebrations in towns and villages already cancelled due to health concerns.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised the public against travel to Italy’s Lombardy region and to 14 other provinces that have been placed in lockdown as the number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 7,375 yesterday.
Passengers planning non-essential travel to the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Piedmont, and Le Marche have also been advised to reconsider.