January 31, 2020
Information for schools and pre-school settings and parents of students/children on novel coronavirus nCoV-2019
There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel Coronavirus that has originated in Hubei Province and its Capital City, Wuhan, which has spread to several Chinese provinces and other countries. Infections have been reported in neighbouring Asian nations, but also further afield as you are aware.
The HSE HPSC is monitoring the situation and updating its website www.hpsc.ie daily at 1pm.
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illnesses. Some of these illnesses are very mild, like the common cold, while others are more severe, like SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).
Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV
A “novel coronavirus” means a new strain of coronavirus that has never been seen in humans before. The coronavirus recently identified in China is one of these. This new coronavirus is being named “2019–nCoV”.
Symptoms of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV
It can take up to 14 days for the symptoms of this 2019-nCoV to appear. These symptoms include:
• Fever (temperature of 38˚C or higher)
• Breathing difficulties
• Shortness of breath
• Sore throat
Treatment of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV
There is no specific treatment for 2019-nCoV at present. But the symptoms of the virus can be treated.
Advice for student/children returning to Ireland
If the person has not come from Wuhan, Hubei province, or has not been in contact with a person with novel coronavirus, or has not attended a healthcare facility where patients with novel coronavirus are being treated, then no specific measures are needed.
For a person with no symptoms, there is no need for quarantine (keeping a well person separate from others) for up to 2 weeks after coming to Ireland. There are no restrictions regarding school, pre-school, work or other activities.
If within the last 14 days, your student/child has come to Ireland from Wuhan OR has been in contact with a person diagnosed with novel coronavirus OR has attended a healthcare facility where patients with novel coronavirus are being treated, you (parent or guardian) are asked to make contact with your local Department of Public Health by phone for further advice.
If any symptoms develop suggestive of acute respiratory illness, during or up to 14 days after travel from Wuhan, Hubei province you should:
• Keep your student/child at home and do not go to school or pre-school.
• Seek medical attention and share your student/child’s travel history with your health care provider. Phone the doctor in advance rather than attending in person.
Phone your GP, rather than turning up in person. Make sure that, when you phone, you mention your student/child’s recent travel.
How to protect yourself from novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV
1. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
2. If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw the used tissue away into a closed bin, and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your flexed (bent) elbow.
3. Avoid close contact with anyone who you know has cold or flu symptoms.
4. Check the travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs prior to arranging travel abroad.
HSE HPSC – Version 1.0 29 January 2020