Three schools in Co Clare have closed after Ireland's first "cluster" instance of coronavirus was confirmed on Wednesday evening.

Three schools in Co Clare have closed after a family of four was confirmed to have coronavirus (Covid-19) on March 4. The family, who are now in isolation care, had recently been in northern Italy, which is experiencing a severe outbreak of the virus.

According to The Irish Times, a primary school and a secondary school are closed for two weeks until March 18th, while another secondary school is closed for one day pending advice from the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The primary school sent out a text to parents on Wednesday night confirming the two-week closure: “A child in our school has tested positive for Covid-19 and as a precaution, school is closed from tomorrow (Thursday) for 14 days. Re-opening 18th March. Public health doctors will contact you individually from tomorrow on."

Management at the secondary school also sent a text to parents overnight confirming the short-term cancelation: “(School) will remain closed Thurs 5th March pending advice from HSE re. Covid-19 (coronavirus) cases in locality. Will advise further tomorrow.”

Scoil Chaitriona in Dublin closed earlier this week when one of its students became the first person in the Republic of Ireland to be diagnosed with the virus.

Read more: Four new cases of coronavirus confirmed in west of Ireland

Ireland's Minister for Health Simon Harris held a press briefing on Thursday in which he discussed the four new cases confirmed on Wednesday evening which involve two males and two females.

There are now a total number of six cases in the Republic of Ireland as well as an additional three confirmed cases in Northern Ireland.

Harris said that contact tracing had begun in relation to the cluster instance in the west of Ireland.

"I am aware that is going to impact on a number of schools, and it is important to say that those schools need to follow the advice of the public health authorities," Harris said, "there may be different scenarios for different schools, and this may happen a number of times in the coming days and weeks."

Read More: Second case of coronavirus confirmed in Republic of Ireland

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronan Glynn said there is no evidence of a widespread outbreak or transmission of the virus in Ireland as there was in other European countries. 

There have been more than 96,000 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed throughout the world, with more than 80,000 in China. 

Italy is by far the worst affected European country with over 3,000 cases and 107 deaths. Germany, France, and Spain have all confirmed more than 200 cases of the virus, while the UK's figure is fast approaching triple digits. 

More than 53,000 people have recovered from the virus.

Read more: Coronavirus fact box - what you need to know

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