Novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak
- In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 worldwide, outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. Many people have lost their lives and thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. Therefore WHO assessed the ongoing outbreak and declared a pandemic on 11 March, 2020.
- The latest reported figures on COVID-19 including the number of confirmed cases by country and a detailed map of distribution of cases are available from the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO global situation reports are available on the WHO website, (Chinese translation).
- Further information on the COVID-19 outbreak situation is also available through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
- Guidance from HPSC is available at https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/
Situation update - Ireland:
As of 12th March 2020 @11.33am, 70 confirmed cases and one death have been reported to HPSC. More details are available on the HPSC website here.
The occurrence of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland is not unexpected. Public Health doctors and affiliated staff in the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) and the regional Departments of Public Health have been working hard to prepare for such an eventuality since the outbreak was first identified in China in late December 2019.
HPSC has developed a suite of guidance documents, including information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and how to test for and manage the disease. The algorithms are currently under review after pandemic was declared.
This preparation has facilitated the identification and appropriate management of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland. These patients have been receiving treatment for their illness and Public Health doctors have been undertaking rigorous contact tracing in relation to all confirmed cases of COVID-19.
One of the best ways to prevent person to person spread of infectious disease, including COVID-19, is to use proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
Wash your hands regularly. You should wash your hands:
- after coughing or sneezing
- before, during and after you prepare food
- before eating
- after using the toilet
- when caring for the sick
- when hands are dirty
- after handling animals or animal waste
Wash your hands with soap and running water when hands are visibly dirty. If your hands are not visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub. See the HSE website for further guidance on hand hygiene.
Cover your mouth and nose with a clean tissue when you cough and sneeze and then promptly dispose of the tissue in a bin and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow instead, not into your hands. See the HPSC website for further information on respiratory hygiene.
Situation update - global:
Since 31 December 2019 and as of 13 March 2020, 133, 860 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions in the affected countries) have been reported, including 4, 967 deaths. The deaths have been reported from China (3 179), Italy (1 016), Iran (429), Spain (84), South Korea (67), France (61), United States (40), Japan (19), United Kingdom (10), Iraq (8), International conveyance in Japan (7), Germany (5), Netherlands (5), San Marino (5), Switzerland (4), Australia (3), Belgium (3), Egypt (2), Philippines (2), Albania (1), Algeria (1), Argentina (1), Austria (1), Bulgaria (1), Canada (1), Greece (1), Guyana (1), India (1), Indonesia (1), Ireland (1), Morocco (1), Norway (1), Panama (1), Poland (1), Sweden (1), Taiwan (1) and Thailand (1).
Cases have been reported on the following continents:
Africa: Egypt (80), Algeria (24), South Africa (17), Tunisia (13), Morocco (6), Senegal (6), Burkina Faso (2), Cameroon (2), Ghana (2), Nigeria (2), Cote Divoire (1), Democratic Republic Of The Congo (1), Gabon (1) and Togo (1).
Asia: China (80 954), Iran (10 075), South Korea (7 979), Japan (675), Qatar (262), Singapore (187), Bahrain (162), Malaysia (158), Israel (96), United Arab Emirates (85), Kuwait (80), India (75), Iraq (74), Thailand (70), Lebanon (66), Saudi Arabia (62), Philippines (52), Taiwan (49), Vietnam (44), Indonesia (34), Palestine* (30), Brunei Darussalam (25), Pakistan (21), Oman (18), Maldives (8), Afghanistan (7), Cambodia (5), Bangladesh (3), Sri Lanka (3), Bhutan (1), Jordan (1), Mongolia (1) and Nepal (1).
America: United States (1 663), Canada (138), Brazil (77), Chile (33), Argentina (31), Panama (27), Costa Rica (23), Peru (22), Ecuador (17), Mexico (16), Colombia (9), Jamaica (6), Paraguay (6), Dominican Republic (5), Bolivia (3), Cuba (3), Honduras (2), Guyana (1), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1) and, Trinidad and Tobago (1).
Europe: Italy (15 113), Spain (3 004), France (2 876), Germany (2 369), Switzerland (854), Denmark (676), Norway (621), Sweden (620), Netherlands (614), United Kingdom (590), Belgium (399), Austria (361), Finland (155), Greece (133), Iceland (117), Czech Republic (116), Slovenia (96), Portugal (78), Ireland (70), San Marino (67), Romania (64), Poland (49), Russia (34), Estonia (27), Luxembourg (26), Croatia (25), Georgia (25), Serbia (24), Albania (23), Bulgaria (23), Belarus (21), Slovakia (21), Hungary (16), Latvia (16), Azerbaijan (13), Bosnia and Herzegovina (11), Malta (9), North Macedonia (9), Armenia (6), Cyprus (6), Moldova (6), Liechtenstein (4), Lithuania (3), Ukraine (3), Turkey (2), Andorra (1), Holy See (1) and Monaco (1).
Oceania: Australia (156) and New Zealand (5).
Other: International conveyance in Japan (696).
Further information is available on the ECDC website.
ECDC risk assessment:
On 12th March, ECDC published an updated report on the situation; Current risk assessment on the novel
On the basis of the information currently available, ECDC considers that:
- The risk of severe disease associated with COVID-19 infection for people in the EU/EEA and UK is currently considered moderate for the general population and high for older adults and individuals with chronic underlying conditions. In addition, the risk of milder disease, and the consequent impact on social and work-related activity, is considered high.
- The risk of the occurrence of subnational community transmission of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK is currently considered very high.
- The risk of occurrence of widespread national community transmission of COVID-19 in the EU/EEA and the UK in the coming weeks is high.
- The risk of healthcare system capacity being exceeded in the EU/EEA and the UK in the coming weeks is considered high.
- The risk associated with transmission of COVID-19 in health and social institutions with large vulnerable populations is considered high.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern, especially when there’s little knowledge about the characteristics of the virus, how it spreads between people, how severe are the resulting infections and how to treat them.
As the situation in relation to COVID-19 is dynamic and evolving, we recommend that the general public and healthcare professionals regularly check the HSE and HPSC websites for up-to-date information.
• ECDC webpage https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china
• WHO webpage https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus
• Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (travel advice): https://dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/