The Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said there is currently a “moderate to low risk” of the coronavirus emerging in Europe.
Dr John Cuddihy said the risk assessment has been issued by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, he said risk assessments have been issued to doctors, hospitals and paramedics in Ireland to identify clinical symptoms
Dr Cuddihy said the coronoavirus presents with flu-like symptoms but a person’s travel history is “key” to possible contamination.
He said a recent scare in Dublin with one patient was raised where a person had clinical symptoms and had travelled recently to China.
However, a risk assessment was carried out and the case was de-escalated, which indicated that medics are reacting correctly to any potential concerns.
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Public health expert Professor Hugh Pennington from Aberdeen University said coronovirus is the first new virus of 2020 and causes respiratory infections.
He said it can be lethal among the elderly and in those with underlying conditions.
However, he said, the Chinese reaction has been swift and the lockdown in Wuhan is a significant attempt to limit the spread of the virus.
He said a significant scientific test has been developed after just three weeks to diagnose the virus, which mimics other respiratory infections.