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Coronavirus: 21 people tested in Northern Ireland

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Dr Michael McBride (right), Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, speaks at the briefing along with Dr Gerry Waldron, Assistant Director of Public Health at the PHA. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Dr Michael McBride (right), Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, speaks at the briefing along with Dr Gerry Waldron, Assistant Director of Public Health at the PHA. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Dr Michael McBride (right), Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, speaks at the briefing along with Dr Gerry Waldron, Assistant Director of Public Health at the PHA. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Health chiefs have confirmed that 21 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Northern Ireland.

None tested positive.

It comes as Northern Ireland’s health service continues to make comprehensive arrangements for dealing with the global public health issue.

As of Wednesday morning, the total number of cases of Covid-19 was around 45,000 globally, with the number of deaths in mainland China reaching 1,113.

Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency says it is working with partners across the UK including Public Health England, as well as the Department of Health, local health trusts and the health service in the Republic of Ireland on the ongoing global novel coronavirus response.

Head of Health Protection at the PHA, Dr Gerry Waldron, says the health service is monitoring for any potential cases of COVID-19 in Northern Ireland.

“Belfast Trust’s Regional Viral Laboratory is now one of 12 UK centres testing for novel coronavirus," he said.

“Until this week, all samples taken from people suspected of having the virus in Northern Ireland were sent to England for testing, but the new local facility will speed up results.”

A helpline has also been established for anyone in Northern Ireland who has travelled to China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Macau in the past 14 days.

To help reduce any potential spread of coronavirus, people are being urged to follow the recommended steps for similar illnesses such as cold and flu – catch, bin it, kill it.

Always carry tissues to catch your cough or sneeze, dispose of the tissue as soon as possible after using it, and clean your hands as soon as you can as germs can spread to every surface you touch.

Further information is available at www.pha.site/coronavirus. The helpline number is 0300 200 7885 and is available 24/7.

Belfast Telegraph


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