The number of Irish troops about to be sent to Lebanon is uncertain, after two of them quarantined at a Co Cork military barracks prior to departure tested positive for Covid-19 and several of their colleagues are now under medical scrutiny as a result.
The soldiers, who are due to depart imminently for UN peacekeeping duties in Lebanon, were diagnosed yesterday.
Following the positive tests for the Covid-19 virus, it’s understood military authorities immediately took the decision to put around 20 or so more troops who had been mixing with them under close observation.
The Irish Examiner understands the two soldiers are from the Dublin area, which has a very high concentration of confirmed cases.
However, analysis by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Maynooth University’s All-Island Research Observatory found one of the top 10 areas for transmission of the virus was in the ‘Fermoy Urban Area’
The soldiers were quarantining at Lynch Camp, Kilworth which is just 10kms north of Fermoy.
The reason for the high number of Covid-19 cases in the town is put down to the large number of people who live there who’re employees at a meat-packing plant in nearby village of Watergrasshill, which has been hit by an outbreak of the virus.
It is not as yet clear if the soldiers had been in Fermoy prior to their 14-day mandatory isolation at Lynch Camp, however, it’s considered unlikely.
It’s understood that the military authorities will be looking to see if there’s a connection with somebody who works in the camp who is from the area, or if the two soldiers contracted the virus in Dublin.
Lebanon has introduced strict rules about people entering the country, which could exclude anybody who has been in contact with a person who has tested positive for the virus.