Covid-19: Public transport users between Dublin-Belfast ‘need not be concerned’

People who travelled on public transport between Dublin and Belfast should not be concerned about the risk of Covid-19, the Public Health Agency (PHA) has said.

Anybody in close contact with Northern Ireland’s first Covid-19 patient has been contacted, health authorities north and south of the border said.

The woman travelled through Dublin Airport on her way home after flying with Aer Lingus from northern Italy with a child.

She was tested at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast but is being treated in isolation at home.

The PHA has completed the contact tracing process associated with the person who tested positive for Covid-19 and those requiring appropriate advice have been provided with it.

Dr Jillian Johnston, consultant in health protection at the PHA, said: “All stages of the individual’s journey were identified and those who came into closest contact have been traced and contacted with public health advice and guidance.

“I would emphasise that members of the public who have travelled between Dublin and Belfast using public transport need not be concerned.

“Contact tracing is an effective and efficient method carried out by the PHA to help prevent the further spread of infections such as Covid-19.

“In addition, the agency will be moving to providing twice-weekly updates on the number of tests completed on individuals who meet the case definition. As of today, 93 tests have been completed, with 92 confirmed as negative and one as presumed positive.

“When a patient tests positive for an infectious disease, an interview is carried out with the patient to help identify those who they may have come into closest contact with, then a process begins by public health professionals to trace and communicate with those individuals.

“Once contact has been made, the appropriate advice can be given to these individuals based on whether they are at high risk, low risk or there is no risk.

“Regular contact is kept with those in the higher risk categories and if they experience any symptoms, appropriate medical intervention will take place.

“If there are any links to another country, the PHA works with its counterparts in those jurisdictions to enable appropriate investigations into potential contacts and actions to be undertaken.”