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Coronavirus: One new case confirmed in Northern Ireland


The coronavirus continues to spread in the UK (Michael Cooper/PA)

The coronavirus continues to spread in the UK (Michael Cooper/PA)

The coronavirus continues to spread in the UK (Michael Cooper/PA)

One new case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Northern Ireland, bringing the total number of cases in the region to four.

The infected person is an adult who previously travelled from Italy and is linked to a previously confirmed case.

Public Health Agency staff are working to identify anyone who has been in contact with the person in order to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “Further positive cases have been expected and we anticipate the number will increase in the days and weeks ahead.

“Northern Ireland remains in the containment phase and it is important to emphasise that. This will obviously be kept under constant review.

“As has previously been stated, there will not be a sharp transition between containment and delay phases. Many of the actions taken during containment will still continue in any delay phase. Responses may vary between different regions, depending on the circumstances."

The latest diagnosis being the total number of confirmed cases on the island of Ireland to 16, after seven new cases were identified in the Republic on Thursday.

One man being treated in Cork University Hospital is the first case of "community transmission" in Ireland, meaning he contracted the virus without travelling to an area already affected by coronavirus.

In Northern Ireland, one of the infected patients is a student at Queen's University in Belfast, who is understood to have travelled to northern Italy recently, where there have been more than 100 deaths due to the outbreak.

In a statement, a QUB spokesperson said they are working with the Public Health Agency to identify anyone who has been in contact with the student infected.

"The university remains open and is operating as normal. The university will continue to monitor the situation," the spokesperson added.

"The university has provided online guidance for staff and students and encourages all members of the Queen's community to follow the latest official guidance from the Public Health Agency and other relevant authorities."

On Wednesday, a demonstration of the process of testing someone suspected of having the virus was held at Antrim Area Hospital.

Suspected cases will be referred to the hybrid testing facility at Antrim Area Hospital by their GP, where they can be tested in their car or in a special coronavirus assessment pod by medical staff wearing protective masks and clothing.

Testing is taking place daily between 9 and 10am, with swabs taken from the patients nose and mouth and sent for testing, with results taking around five hours.

On Thursday, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne called for the force to be given the power to detain people suspected of having coronavirus.

There have also been calls for a ban on school trips to countries hit by the virus.

Belfast Telegraph

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