Ireland has confirmed its first case of coronavirus

The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland. The patient reportedly traveled from northern Italy, which is in the midst of a severe coronavirus outbreak, to Ireland.

Read More: Coronavirus case confirmed in Northern Ireland, patient traveled through Dublin

Ireland’s Health Service Executive said on February 29: “There is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Republic of Ireland. 

“They are receiving treatment in hospital. Infection prevention measures are in place.

“Public Health Specialists are working to identify contacts who need advice and follow-up to prevent further spread.”

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Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team said in a statement: “The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed of a case of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland.

“The patient, a male in the eastern part of the country, is currently receiving appropriate medical care. 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.

Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said: “This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now.

“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.”

Dr. John Cuddihy, Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: "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.

“It is important to note that the risk of transmission through casual contact is low."

Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team added: “Covid-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person’s body fluids (e.g. 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 Health Protection Surveillance Centre 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.”

Read More: Ireland does not plan to screen for coronavirus at airports, for now

On February 25, the Ireland - Italy Six Nations rugby match that was scheduled for March 7 at Dublin's Aviva Stadium was officially called off amid coronavirus fears.

On February 27, the first confirmed case of coronavirus was reported in Northern Ireland. The patient reportedly traveled from northern Italy through Dublin before arriving back in Northern Ireland.

As of February 29, nearly 86,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 2,900 deaths had been confirmed worldwide.