School closes for 14 days after pupil catches coronavirus in Italy

A secondary school in Dublin is closed for two weeks after a teenage pupil caught coronavirus during a trip to Italy.

Students and teachers who had contact with the infected boy have been told to self-isolate at home amid fears it may have been passed on to others.

The student is Ireland's first carrier of the flu-like illness. The school has about 400 pupils.

The closure comes less than 24 hours after authorities confirmed the Irish Republic's first case of Covid-19 – a male living in the east of the country who contracted the virus in one of the affected areas of northern Italy.

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Ireland's chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said the male had subsequently been in the school.

The school will close for 14 days, the incubation period for the virus, during which all pupils and teachers are being asked to restrict their movements.

All pupils and staff will not automatically be tested for the virus, but anyone who presents with symptoms will be.

The teenage boy became ill in recent days after returning from Italy and is in isolation in a Dublin hospital, the Irish Times reported.

Dr Holohan said: "Public health doctors are in direct contact with pupils, their parents and the staff involved."

Ireland's Department of Education said it was available to assist the school in any way necessary.

"The closing of this school was a decision made on public health grounds after risk assessment deemed it appropriate," said a departmental statement.

"All other schools will remain open. The departments will continue to communicate with all schools on this issue."

Dr Holohan said he was choosing not to name what he said was a "large" school in an effort to protect the identity of the patient.

The case is the second on the island of Ireland.

The first involves a woman from Northern Ireland who also contracted the virus in northern Italy and had travelled through Dublin Airport.

A Dublin to Belfast train was later sanitised as it was believed the woman travelled home on it.

Dr Holohan said there was a lot of misinformation about the virus circulating on social media. He said much of it was not grounded in science.

"We will continue to try to get the message out that this is an illness that we can contain, we can slow the progress of," he said.

He said the evidence showed that for the vast majority of people who contract Covid-19, it is a "mild illness".

The UK reported 13 more cases on Monday – including the first in Scotland – bringing its total to 36.

The patient in Scotland was from the Tayside area.

Three of the latest 12 confirmed cases relate to a man from Surrey who tested positive on Friday, becoming the first person to get infected within the UK.

Dozens of schools in Britain have closed or sent pupils and staff home to self-isolate due to confirmed or possible cases of coronavirus.

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