A MAN who travelled from Italy to Ireland is receiving medical care after being diagnosed with Covid-19 (coronavirus).
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been informed of the confirmed case in the eastern part of the country.
The patient was identified and tested in line with established protocols for the investigation of suspect cases of Covid-19.
The case is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case.
"This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now," said Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health.
"Public health protocols have been in place since January and are operating effectively.
"The health service is well used to managing infectious diseases and has robust response measures in place."
The HSE is working to establish any contact the patient may have had with others.
"The HSE is now working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient may have had, to provide them with information and advice to prevent further spread," said Dr. John Cuddihy, Director of the HPSC.
“It is important to note that the risk of transmission through casual contact is low."
Earlier today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris spoke to Northern Ireland officials regarding the coronavirus as a woman is recovering at home in Belfast, after testing positive for the virus.
The Northern Irish woman is this island's first case and contracted the illness after travelling from Italy to Dublin.
Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids, such as droplets from coughing or sneezing, or by touching surfaces that an infected person has coughed or sneezed on.
The general public is advised to follow advice from the HSE and the HPSC to protect their health.
Any person concerned that they may have symptoms of Covid-19 (coronavirus) should immediately isolate themselves from others and contact their GP by phone.