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A further 69 people test positive for coronavirus in Republic of Ireland - brings total to 292

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Coronavirus testing (Ben Birchall/PA)

Coronavirus testing (Ben Birchall/PA)

Coronavirus testing (Ben Birchall/PA)

A further 69 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, the Republic of Ireland's Department of Health has confirmed

They include:

· 29 male, 40 female
· 48 are associated with the east of the country, 13 with the south.

Five are in the north/west, and three are associated with the west

There are now 292 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

There have been 2 deaths associated with COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland.

Meanwhile, a large backlog of patients suspected of having the coronavirus are waiting days for tests despite having potential symptoms, the HSE said today.

The patients may be at risk of infecting others if they do not self isolate while waiting for the result as instructed.

A shortage of swabs is causing the delay and the HSE fears they could run out of them if a new batch fails to arrive on Thursday.

The HSE said it was confident of getting the extra supplies on Thursday.

When a patient phones their GP, they are assessed and depending on the doctor‘s verdict, they can be referred electronically to give a swab at a testing centre.

The delay is emerging between the GP referral and getting an appointment.

Once they give the swab, there is another wait of a day or more while it is analysed at a lab.

Dr Colm Henry of the HSE said the delay would not affect the persons outcome, but it can cause anxiety.

He appealed to people to be patient and said the arrival of more swabs and opening up of more testing centres would help clear the backlog.

The HSE confirmed two Navy ships will be used as testing centres.

Earlier on Tuesday, Health Minister Simon Harris issued a call to anyone who can join the fight against the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Mr Harris said the health service needs “all hands on deck” and insisted there will be “no financial restraints” on the HSE to hire doctors and nurses.

The minister said every doctor who qualifies in the Republic of Ireland this year will automatically be offered an internship in a hospital.

He also appealed to anyone with nursing experience to offer their services to the health service. Retired nurses, those working part-time and even trainees were asked to sign up to an initiative the Government is calling ‘A Call to Ireland’.

“Your country needs you’ was a cliché in the past but it is an actual call we are making here in Ireland,” Mr Harris said.

Those who can help were asked to contact the HSE to offer their services.

Irish Independent