Sinn Féin events hit by coronavirus

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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has revealed her children attend a school in Dublin where the second case of the coronavirus in Ireland was confirmed yesterday.

Ms McDonald said she would be cancelling two Sinn Féin public meetings after it was announced that the school, Scoil Chaitríona in north Dublin, was to close for two weeks.

She said it was a “very worrying time” for the school’s pupils, staff and particularly for the family of the child who contracted the virus. Ms McDonald said she wanted to “stay close to home”.

“Obviously we are following all of the chief medical officers advice and therefore the children have to be at home for the next 14 days,” she said.

“I have had to reorganise everything all of my work schedule because of this and so the public meetings in Cavan and Galway this week will unfortunately have to be postponed but we will set a date for them again very very soon,” she added.

She urged people to follow the medical advice and wash their hands as often as possible. She added that she would be “back at work tomorrow”.

Hundreds of students at the Glasnevin secondary school were yesterday told to stay at home for two weeks after a student tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Parents received a letter from health officials saying the school had been shut with students and staff “put under active surveillance” until March 16.

The student, the second person in Ireland to be diagnosed with the virus, was being cared for in the isolation unit of the Mater Hospital in Dublin last night. He caught the disease during a mid-term visit to northern Italy.

The Dublin government is under intense pressure to do more to combat the influx of the virus from Italy, the site of the biggest infection outbreak in Europe, and to provide the Irish public with more information to combat the contagion now that it has arrived here.

Official secrecy over the spread of the disease has also served to heighten public anxiety.

Flights to northern Italy are continuing despite the risk of further infection, and almost all major public events are set to go ahead, while only limited efforts have been made to help those who may be directly endangered by the disease.

The latest figures showed 89,068 confirmed cases of the illness globally, of whom 45,636 have recovered, 41,146 remain ill and 3,069 have perished.

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