12th March 2020

Please note that some of this information may change as our understanding of Covid-19 increases. For the most up to date version please see the ILFA website www.ilfa.ie

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is a new virus that was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. The family of coronaviruses include viruses that cause ‘colds’ but also some viruses that cause very serious diseases with a high mortality rate like SARS and MERS. As this is a novel (new) virus people do not have any immunity so large numbers of patients are becoming infected in a short period of time. Over the last few weeks the spread of the virus has become a worldwide concern as the number of people who have developed an acute respiratory viral infection and have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus is increasing in many countries including Ireland.

While there is a lot of good, factual, evidence-based information emerging about the new virus, there is also a lot of misinformation in circulation that can lead to heightened anxiety and worry. It is important to use trusted sources of information to inform yourself about the current news and developments relating to Covid-19. Some useful and reliable websites are included below. Here, we hope to provide you with useful information and practical advice to help you stay safe.

How does the virus spread?

The virus is spread from person to person. Covid-19 spreads directly via tiny respiratory droplets when someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes close to you, or indirectly if you touch your face after coming in contact with contaminated surfaces, such as handrails and door handles. The Covid-19 virus enters the body when it comes in contact with your mucous membranes through your mouth, nose, or eyes. This is why it is so important to wash your hands frequently and keep a distance away from people this is called social distancing. People who have been exposed to the virus may be contagious before they themselves have any symptoms. This is one reason the virus is spreading so much.

Countries including Taiwan, Singapore and China that have employed strict hygiene measures and social distancing, isolated symptomatic cases and curtailed the movement of people have successfully reduced the number of cases. Unfortunately throughout Europe (including Ireland), US and Iran the number of cases continues to increase.

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