The first case of coronavirus in Northern Ireland has been confirmed, the Public Health Agency has said. Chief medical officer Dr. Michael McBride said the adult had travelled from northern Italy via Dublin. He said the patient had contacted a GP and had taken steps to self-isolate. The patient is a woman and she travelled with a child to NI from Dublin in the last 36 hours. It is believed the child is not in hospital but is awaiting test results.
Dr. McBride said the patient had shown a presumptive positive result for Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, and the test outcome was being verified by laboratories in England. “Our health service is well used to dealing with such infections and I want to reassure the public that we are prepared,” Dr. McBride said. “The risk to the population of NI has not changed as a result of this presumptive positive test result.”
For advice and the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak, the Public Health Agency has a dedicated website. The patient is receiving specialist care and public health staff was “working rapidly” to identify anyone the patient came into contact with to prevent a further spread, he added. He said those with casual passing contact should not be concerned.
Dr. McBride said the case was specifically linked to travel but the patient had not been on a school trip. No further details about the patient have been released and it is not known if they used public transport to get to Northern Ireland. Italy has become a major centre of infection and now has more than 500 cases of coronavirus.
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