Sinn Féin leader puts herself and her two children in coronavirus quarantine

Mary Lou McDonald has been caught up in the coronavirus scare after the pupils and staff in her children's school were put in lockdown.

As the disease continues to spread rapidly, the Sinn Féin leader has called off her series of public meetings, Google in Dublin has told thousands of staff to stay home and Ryanair has put pilots and crew on unpaid leave as the demand for flights drops.

Ms McDonald, a mother-of-two, has said it is a 'very worrying time' after it emerged a pupil in her own children's school has the deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide.

She has put everything else on hold to stay home with them. She added that she had cancelled planned public meetings in Cavan and Galway this week as a result.

'My children's school is closed for the next fortnight because of a confirmed case of the coronavirus,' she said in the video message.

'We're following all of the chief medical officer's advice and therefore the children have to be at home for the next 14 days.

'This is a worrying time for families and for the staff at the school, particularly for the family of the person affected, and we wish them a very, very speedy recovery.

'Remember to follow all of the advice, to listen to the medical advice and to wash your hands with warm, soapy water and to wash them again, to take care of yourselves and take care of each other.'

It comes as Ireland's chief medical officer defended the decision to close the secondary school after it was confirmed a student was diagnosed with coronavirus at the weekend.

Tony Holohan said the move to shut the school for two weeks was a 'proportionate measure'.

Dr Holohan also said he believes the risk of the infection spreading in Ireland is still low.

It was confirmed on Saturday night that the male student contracted the virus in one of the affected areas of northern .

The school has been closed for 14 days from Monday, during which all pupils and teachers are being asked to restrict their movements.

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Dr Holohan said authorities are not naming the school to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the patient.

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT Half-mile tunnel filled with over 4,000 pounds of drugs found near San Diego