HSE will enforce quarantine on people suspected of having coronavirus if they refuse to be isolated – Irish Mirror

People suspected of having the killer coronavirus but refuse to be isolated, could be forced into quarantine, the HSE insisted.

The HSE have asked the Department of Health to legally change the infectious disease list to include Covid-19, which has so far killed over 1,300 in China.

Under existing laws in this country, public health doctors have powers to force people into isolation if they have an infectious disease such as TB or cholera.

Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director for the HSE said we are likely to see a case of the coronavirus in Ireland and said we’ll be hearing about the killer disease for another four months.

At a media briefing on Thursday, Dr Kelleher said the HSE has asked the Department of Health to legally allow those who refuse isolation to be forced into quarantine.

Dr Kevin Kelleher

He said: “If we have somebody who is a suspect we would want them to be in hospital at the moment so everybody so far that has been in that position has come into hospital with us.

“It is quite catastrophic and quick so we don’t want that to happen.

“The HSE sought the change they said they would get it done. We want it done as soon as possible.

“We do have powers and we would use those powers [to force isolation] if necessary.”

When asked what authorities would do with someone suspected to have the coronavirus but refused to cooperate, Dr Kelleher said the HSE would “make every effort to persuade them” to self isolate.

But he indicated tougher measures could be used if necessary. And said he thinks anyone suspected of having the disease would be “happy” to cooperate in hospital until they were cleared of the disease.

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(Image: Getty)

Meanwhile, those who have not travelled to China but are experiencing the symptoms associated with the virus such as fever and cough have been told to contact their GPs.

And there has been an increase in the number of people contacting their GP who are fearful they have contracted the virus.

As of last Monday, 65 cases presented tested negative for the virus.

Dr Kelleher said: “We are strongly saying they should speak to us, their GP by phone in the first instance and we will then provide a system that will bring them into the hospital in a controlled way and deal with it.

“We witnessed a surge over the weekend because of the publicity.

“If China’s measure which seems to be happening at the moment actually control it then yes it’ll fade away, but that is probably a six-eight week longer process before we’d see that.

“I would suspect we’ve got another three or four months of this in the very best scenario.

“We’re saying if you’ve not been in mainland China in the last 14 days and you have symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately to discuss the issue.”

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