Secondary school to close after link found to Coronavirus case in east of Ireland
Steps are being taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus if it arrives in Derry.
With two cases of the virus being confirmed in Ireland in recent days, the expectation is high that it will soon hit other areas of the country.
While health chiefs are stressing that there is no need to panic, measures are being introduced across society in a bid to limit the spread of the virus.
Mass-goers in Derry were yesterday told of new measures being taken by the Catholic church during its services.
The traditional shaking of hands during the 'Sign of the Peace' part of the Mass has been suspended.
In the short-term, Holy Communion will also only be distributed to hands.
Those who hand out Holy Communion have been asked to use alcohol gel which has been placed in local churches.
Traditionally, many priests would have stood outside their church after weekend Masses to speak to parishioners and shake their hands.
It is understood that priests have been told to stop doing this in the current climate.
Eleswhere, people are being urged to exercise greater vigilance themselves in the fight against coronavirus.
Local schools who have upcoming trips to Europe are also watching the developing situation closely.
It is understood that no school trips involving Derry schools have yet been cancelled but that, of course, could change dependent on circumstances.
The Derry News is aware that a large number of local people have cancelled upcoming holidays to Europe as a result of the current situation.
The confirmed coronavirus in Ireland involve a woman in Belfast and an unidentified person in the east of the country.
A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland advised people on what to do should they believe they have the virus.
“Like seasonal flu, the same public health advice applies for COVID-19 (Coronavirus): if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands.
“Once flu and similar infectious viruses begin to spread, the main method that can prevent further spread, is good personal hygiene.
“Washing your hands regularly will help prevent flu and other viruses spreading.
“If you do become unwell and suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19 you should stay at home and phone your GP for advice,” added the PHA spokesperson.
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