A number of hospitals across the country have imposed a ban on visitors over the coronavirus while some hospitals are also cancelling elective surgeries and outpatient appointments.


Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary

All elective surgeries and outpatient appointments at the six hospitals in the University of Limerick Hospitals Group have been cancelled for next Monday and Tuesday as a result of Covid-19.

The affected facilities are University Hospital Limerick, University Maternity Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, St John's Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital.

A ban on visitors is also in place at all six hospitals. 

In a statement, the UL Hospitals Group said the measures are "necessary in the interests of patient safety" and have been taken "in the context of the current public health emergency" due to coronavirus.

The group said there are a limited number of exemptions to the cancellation announcement, including patients attending for chemotherapy and dialysis and expectant mothers coming in for elective caesarean sections.

University Hospital Limerick said it is working to trace people who may have been in contact with a person who attended its emergency department on Wednesday and who was subsequently diagnosed with Covid-19.

The hospital said staff who were in close contact with the individual have been asked not to report for duty.

The emergency department was closed on Wednesday night for a three-hour period for a deep clean.

A helpline has been launched to provide information and support to people in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary who are considered a casual contact or close contact of confirmed cases in the mid-west.

The helpline number is 1890 300 046.


Donegal, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Galway

Visitor restrictions are to be imposed at all hospitals in the Saolta Group, which covers the west and northwest.

The group consists of Letterkenny University Hospital, Mayo University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital, Merlin Park University Hospital and University Hospital Galway.

The restrictions will continue into next week and will be kept under review.

The statement added that these restrictions are being put in place as an infection-control measure.

A hospital spokesperson stated: "We are asking the public not to visit the hospital other than end of life situations and other exceptional circumstances as agreed with the ward manager in advance of visiting." 


Dublin

The Mater Hospital in Dublin has appealed to people not to visit the hospital to minimise the possible spread of infections.

In a statement, the hospital said the only visitors who are allowed on campus are those who are visiting patients in critical care, vulnerable young adults, psychiatric patients or those whose loved ones are receiving end-of-life care.

It said that no children are being permitted to visit the hospital under any circumstances.

The hospital added that all appointments are proceeding as planned.


Cork, Kerry, Waterford

Visitor restrictions have also been introduced across the South/South West Hospital Group.

The hospitals include Cork University Hospital, Cork University Maternity Hospital, University Hospital Kerry, University Hospital Waterford, South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital, Mercy University Hospital, Bantry General Hospital and Mallow General Hospital.

In a statement, the group said the restrictions are "in the interest of patient care and in order to prevent the spread of infection".

"Anyone with any queries about visiting times or visiting a particular hospital should ring the respective hospital directly," said the statement.


Nursing home restrictions

The chief executive of Nursing Homes Ireland has urged families of residents to be vigilant about visitor restrictions.

Tadhg Daly was speaking on RTÉ's News at One after Nursing Homes Ireland confirmed that visiting restrictions are in place at nursing homes across the country.

The organisation said that for the protection of residents, no non-essential visiting, children or groups will be allowed.

Mr Daly said allowances will be made for visitors of residents who are at end-of-life stage or receiving palliative care, but he said the policy of "one visitor per resident" would be implemented in most cases.

He urged those who are allowed to visit residents to be aware of coughing etiquette and hygiene guidelines issued by health authorities.