Authorities in Ireland close all universities and schools and restrict mass gatherings March 12-29. Further restrictions possible.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 13:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 29 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventative restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Through at least March 29
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, limited services, event cancellations

Summary
As of March 12, officials in Ireland have ordered the closures of all universities, schools, and childcare facilities, in addition to advising people to work remotely where possible, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measures are in effect through at least 1800 March 29. In addition, authorities have advised against indoor gatherings of over 100 people, and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people, likely resulting in the cancellation of multiple events throughout the country, including concerts, sporting events, and conventions.

Authorities may further increase restrictions throughout Ireland in the coming days. While there are no travel restrictions to and from the country, authorities may impose some limitations if COVID-19 cases increase and spread in the region.

Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base

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