The World Health Organisation has declared it a global health emergency.
The death toll has reached 213, with almost 10,000 cases confirmed worldwide, most of which are in China.
Here in Cork however, the Health Service Executive has reassured the public that currently, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland.
In a statement on the epidemic, a type of coronavirus known as novel coronavirus, Wuhan novel coronavirus or Wuhan coronavirus, the HSE explained that a protocol is in place:
“If there is a case here, health professionals will try to contact anyone who has been in close contact with the infected person. If you are not contacted, you are extremely unlikely to catch coronavirus.”
Hand washing is key
Coronavirus is spread by coming into close contact with someone who has the virus. It can be spread by coughing or sneezing. You could also get it if you touch surfaces that have droplets of the virus on them.
According to HSE advice, the best defence against any virus is simple:
- Wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze (if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your arm or sleeve – not your hand.
- Put used tissues into a sealed bin
Avoid travelling to China
Globetrotters have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel to China.
If you are travelling to China, the HSE has advised frequent hand washing and avoiding animal and bird markets, places where live or dead animals are handled, contact with anyone who is ill with a cold or flu-like symptoms such as sneezing or coughing, and contact with animals and their droppings.
Phone your GP
Any patients who are sick and have just returned from Wuhan, China are asked to stay indoors and phone their GP, particularly if symptoms include a temperature, cough, or breathing difficulties
“Do not go to your GP’s surgery. Phone your GP first. This is so you do not accidentally put other people at risk. Your GP will tell you over the phone on the next steps.” explained the HSE spokesperson.