Trinity have established a College working group to assess the risk of an outbreak of the Coronavirus.
In an email to all staff and students John Coman, the secretary to the college and Dr David McGrath, the director of the college health service, have stated that the purpose of the working group is “to monitor the situation regarding a potential outbreak of Novel Coronavirus in Ireland”.
The email, which was accompanied by a translation into Chinese, advised anyone who has recently returned from the areas of China where outbreaks of the virus have been most prevalent, and is exhibiting symptoms associated with the virus, to contact the college health service.
An outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan city in China, has killed over 80 people and infected around 3,000 people. The vast majority of those who are infected are in China, with some cases reported in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, France and the United States. No cases have currently been reported in Ireland.
Symptoms of the virus include coughing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, fever, and in the most severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and kidney failure.
The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have issued advice that anyone considering travelling to China who is ill with a fever or respiratory symptoms may be significantly delayed. The department’s advice to anyone displaying such symptoms is not to travel.
The email from College states that “Trinity Insurance must be alerted to specific travel plans for staff and students to China particularly to regions near the affected area,” adding that “anyone travelling to China must register with the college insurance and this must be accompanied by a Travel Risk Assessment, completed by the person or group travelling”.
The email issues advice to staff and students of actions that can be taken to prevent infection and spread of the virus. These include, “regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as cough or sneezing, avoiding visiting wet or live markets and contact with animals, excretions and droppings, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.”
Trinity have said that the working group with provide further updates “ as the situation develops”.