Ireland’s health service has temporarily shut down its IT system on Friday to protect it from a “significant” ransomware attack.

The country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme was not disrupted, but the attack was affecting IT systems serving all other local and national health provision, the head of the Health Service Executive (HSE) said.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) said it had taken the precaution of closing down its systems to further protect them and assess the situation.

Fergal Malone, master of the Rotunda Hospital, said the attacks mean his hospital will for now “revert back to old-fashioned based record-keeping”.

The Rotunda said most outpatient visits had been cancelled for Friday but said anyone “with urgent concerns” should “attend as normal”.

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