CHAS NVRL Director given task of providing advice on the recent Coronavirus

Dr Cillian De Gascun, the Laboratory Director at the UCD National Virus Reference Laboratory has been asked to chair the new Expert Advisory Group who are providing advice on the Coronavirus to the HSE and National Public Health Emergency Team. The Expert Advisory Group is a multidisciplinary group with experts from relevant specialities. 

Dr Cillian De Gascun, Laboratory Director at the UCD National Virus Reference Laboratory

Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health, Dr Tony Holohan, has said that this "group will monitor and review national and international research and developments in relation to coronavirus and provide expert advice to the National Public Health Emergency Team, the Health Service Executive and others, as appropriate.”

The HSE recently announced plans in relation to the coronavirus preparation measures in Ireland. These include the provision of ‘Personal Protective Equipment’ packs to around 3,000 GPs, public health doctors and clinics.

Dr De Gascun, speaking to RTE's Morning ireland, stated that Ireland presently remains at low risk from the coronavirus but that a case here would not be unexpected. He went on to say that over the next couple of weeks will prove whether or not China's containment efforts have been successful. Dr De Gascus also added that one positive is that there has not been sustained human-to-human transmission in any country outside China since the outbreak and it is not believed to be readily transmissible from person to person, which is why there has not been a huge spread outside China.

However, the UCD researcher did also state that a large amount remains unknown about the virus and fundamental science and information  need to be collected.

Dr De Gascun echoed the concerns from the Department of Foreign Affairs, saying that it wouldn't be advisable to undertake non-essential travel to China.