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Irish trapped in Wuhan getting special deliveries of vital drugs

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There are more than 42,000 coronavirus cases across China. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

There are more than 42,000 coronavirus cases across China. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

REUTERS

There are more than 42,000 coronavirus cases across China. Photo: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Irish people in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, are having medicines specially ferried to them by foreign affairs officials.

Pharmacies in Wuhan are running low in certain medicines, such as statins which are needed to control cholesterol.

The Herald understands one Irish national is having these drugs sent to them through special delivery by Irish embassy officials in China.

A number of Irish people remain confined to their apartments in Wuhan after declining an offer to take a rescue flight which landed in the UK more than a week ago.

Most stayed because they would have to leave their Chinese partners behind due to the lack of a visa.

The three Irish people who took the flight to the UK remain in quarantine until later this week in Arrowe Park Hospital, Merseyside, as a precaution.

It comes as it emerged that two Bord Bia employees in China have returned to Ireland to escape the coronavirus outbreak.

Other State agencies have banned such travel and are requiring staff to work from their Chinese residences.

Both Bord Bia employees returned to work in the food promotion agency's Dublin office on Monday after spending two weeks working from their family homes. They were screened and cleared of any coronavirus risk by HSE staff, the agency has confirmed.

More than 1,000 staff at Indeed's Irish operations have been given the green light to return to their Dublin offices today, after tests in Singapore found that family members of an Indeed staff member there do not have the virus.

The recruitment company had shut its offices in Dublin on Monday - as well as in Singapore and Sydney - and asked staff to work from home while the Singapore case was investigated.

Meanwhile, an expert committee overseeing plans to deal with any case of the coronavirus which would hit this country met in Dublin yesterday.

To date 65 people have been tested for the virus and all have proved negative.

Another three people are now being tested at the National Virus Laboratory in UCD but these are also expected to test negative.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre issued new guidelines on how to handle the swabs taken for testing from people suspected of having the virus.

Samples should be collected wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Estimated turnaround time is 12 to 24 hours for same-day results samples.

Stigmatisation

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says the official name for the disease caused by the new coronavirus is Covid-2019.

It comes after the death toll from the virus passed 1,000. Tens of thousands of people have been infected.

The word coronavirus refers to the group of viruses it belongs to, rather than the latest strain. Researchers have been calling for an official name to avoid confusion and stigmatisation of any group or country.

"We had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease," a WHO spokesperson said.