| 7°C Belfast

Five new cases of coronavirus detected in Northern Ireland

Close

An Emergency Department Nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside the Emergency Department of Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 4, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

An Emergency Department Nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside the Emergency Department of Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 4, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

A member of the public in Udine

A member of the public in Udine

Members of the public in Hunan Province

Members of the public in Hunan Province

Coronavirus disinfectant volunteers in Beijing

Coronavirus disinfectant volunteers in Beijing

Members of the public in Madrid

Members of the public in Madrid

The Covid-19-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship maintains its holding pattern off the Californian coast

The Covid-19-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship maintains its holding pattern off the Californian coast

An Emergency Department Nurse during a demonstration of the Coronavirus pod and COVID-19 virus testing procedures set-up beside the Emergency Department of Antrim Area Hospital, Co Antrim in Northern Ireland. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday March 4, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Michael Cooper/PA Wire

Five new cases of Coronavirus have been detected in Northern Ireland, health officials revealed on Sunday night.

It brings to 12 the number of confirmed incidents here. The details were released by the Department of Health in a 10.15pm update.

As the coronavirus crisis escalated on Sunday:

  • A search was under way to find anyone who may have come into contact with a footballer who tested positive for coronavirus after playing for a Co Armagh team at the weekend.
  • UK cases rose to 273, up from 209 on Saturday — the biggest rise yet. A third death was announced on Sunday night.
  • Two more cases were confirmed in the Republic, bringing the total number there to 21.
  • A leading virologist said Northern Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations should be shelved to halt the spread of coronavirus.
  • 16 million people were put under lockdown yesterday in northern Italy.
  • Tesco began rationing essential food and household items as a result of coronavirus stockpiling.

The five fresh cases of coronavirus come after three were diagnosed on Saturday.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Five new presumptive positive results for coronavirus (Covid-19) have been recorded in Northern Ireland, bringing the total to 12 since testing began.

“Contact tracing from these five cases is being conducted by Public Health Agency staff.”

Health officials said a more detailed update will be provided on Monday, when the contact tracing work is at a more advanced stage.

The development came as questions were raised about whether a footballer who tested positive for coronavirus had been told to self-isolate ahead of turning out for Portadown side Hanover FC on Saturday afternoon.

Hanover stressed that it was not aware the player was at risk of carrying the virus before the game took place.

The club released a statement on Saturday night confirming that one of its reserve players tested positive at 6.30pm after playing against Coagh United Reserves in the Co Tyrone village.

A spokesperson for Coagh United said tracking down everyone who may have been exposed to the virus has been difficult as the club held a darts competition at its facilities following the game.

It is thought that the player had been tested for the virus ahead of Saturday’s game.

Tests for the virus are only carried out when patients meet a strict set of criteria after assessment by a GP or NHS 111.

Dr Alan Stout, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee in Northern Ireland, said it “makes sense” to self-isolate until you find out the result of your coronavirus test.

“By the point a person is being referred for testing, they are regarded as high risk because of their travel history, contact history and whether they are symptomatic, therefore until you know the result of swab, it makes sense to self-isolate and to be giving a patient that advice,” he said.

In the UK, 273 people have been tested positive for the virus, while 23,513 have been tested. So far, three people have died from the disease in the UK.

Saturday’s match was played at Coagh Sports Centre as Coagh United Reserves beat Hanover Reserves 2-1 in the Mid Ulster Football League (MUFL) Reserve Championship.

It is understood the match referee attended Antrim Area Hospital for testing following the game and was given the all-clear.

Meanwhile, Hanover’s first team, which plays in MUFL Intermediate A, were beaten 2-1 at home in the league by Crewe United on Saturday.

Crewe said all its senior teams have been stood down from football activities for the next two weeks.

Coagh United was also informed by the MUFL its reserve side was banned from playing or training for the next fortnight.

The MUFL was asked to clarify if Hanover had also been stood down from playing for the next 14 days but there was no response, while the club failed to comment on Sunday.

On Saturday evening, Hanover posted on its Facebook page that the player had tested positive for the virus after the game.

The club continued by saying that it immediately took “all precautionary measures” and contacted Hanover players, Coagh United and the MUFL.

Hanover FC’s casino night was cancelled and a deep clean of the club’s facilities was also due to be carried out.

“Again, we would wish to stress that this is something that we had no prior knowledge but following the swift actions taken upon discovery we hope that this will help in ensuring all those in direct contact with the person in question remain unaffected,” the club statement concluded.

On Sunday, the club shared a link to the Public Health Agency’s coronavirus advice website.

A spokesperson for Coagh United said the club has attempted to contact everyone who may have been exposed to the virus but that has proven difficult after a darts competition was held in its social club on Saturday night.

Belfast Telegraph