IRELAND will likely have a case confirmed case of Coronavirus sooner or later, one of the country’s top docs has warned.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that while some 65 people have so far tested negative here for the killer flu, he believes that will change.
The top doc also declared the HSE will be able to handle a small number of cases despite widespread hospital overcrowding.
The coronavirus which has been officially named Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation has killed 1,100 people and infected more than 45,000.
Dr Holohan said: “A case or a small number of cases is not going to present a substantial challenge to our hospitals.
He added: “We’ve had no confirmed cases in this country. I do expect that’s going to change and we’re certainly prepared. It’s not going to change our plans.
He told Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1: “The plans at the moment are about maximising the chance of picking up a case should one occur and putting in place arrangements to stop that case from being transmitted to other people.
“There have only been about 400 cases outside of mainland China – about 40 cases in Europe.
“We’re feeling encouraged that we will be able to contain this should cases arise her.”
The Chief Medical Officer said the 65 people who were tested had symptoms associated with the killer virus after they returned from mainland China.
Dr Holohan said potential patients who believe they may have contracted the virus can be completely ruled out on the same day they are tested if the samples are in the lab before 10am.
It comes as The Irish Sun has learned that Bord Bia’s Shanghai office has reopened earlier on Monday but some staff will work remotely.
BORD BIA RESPONSE
A Bord Bia spokeswoman said: “Bord Bia has followed the Chinese authorities advice and re-opened the office in a cautious manner.
“We have supported staff members’ individual decisions to return to Ireland.
“Bord Bia staff members who have returned to Ireland have followed Department of Foreign Affairs advice and contacted the HSE on their return.
“They will then work from home for a two week period.”