Another case of coronavirus in Ireland has been confirmed in the east of the country tonight.
There are now two confirmed case of Covid-19 — in the eastern part of the country.
The second case concerns a female who had travelled from Northern Italy.
Up to yesterday, 397 people had been tested and the results have been negative, with the exception of the two confirmed cases.
Ireland’s Six Nations rugby match against Italy scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed due to the outbreak. Mr Varadkar said it was due to specific circumstances around that game — namely that it would have seen thousands of people from affected areas of Italy congregating in a stadium in Dublin.
He did not issue the same cancellation advice to the organisers of the St Patrick’s events.
Health officials are currently finalising guidelines that will provide organisers of all mass events with advice and a set of criteria in relation to the appropriateness of cancelling major gatherings.
Mr Varadkar said the St Patrick's Day events were expected to go ahead, but he added:
“Bear in mind the St Patrick’s Day festival and events are two weeks away, and a lot can happen between now and then but, as of now, we’re not advising to cancel major events or major gatherings such as that.”
Earlier, an international virology expert urged the Government to axe the St Patrick’s Day events amid fears of spreading the virus. Professor John Oxford told RTÉ that the State should take the issue “a bit more seriously” and recommend cancellation.
On Tuesday, Mr Varadkar announced he is to lead a special cabinet sub-committee to co-ordinate the state’s response to the Covid-19 situation.
He said the country remains in the “containment” phase and that was why actions being taken in other countries harder hit by the virus were not being introduced.
“There will be no panic — but there will also be no complacency,” he said.
“What we are pursuing in Ireland at the moment is a policy of containment and making sure that any cases that are identified are contact traced and we contain any potential outbreak.
“We may come to the point in a few weeks’ time, if that’s not successful, where we move to the mitigation phase, and that will be treating the ill rather than trying to contain the virus but we are not at that point yet.”
He said the Government’s response would be “proportionate” and based on scientific and medical evidence.