First case of coronavirus confirmed in Republic of Ireland

The first case of coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland has been confirmed.

A man in the eastern part of the island is infected, Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan has announced.

It is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case.

Dr Holohan said the Health Protection Surveillance Centre was alerted to the case on Saturday and the patient is receiving appropriate medical care.

He added: ‘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.’

Northern Ireland’s first case of the deadly virus was diagnosed on Thursday and confirmed by laboratory tests on Saturday.

Officials have said everyone in close contact with the woman had been notified.

The Public Health Agency (PHA) stated: ‘The family has asked that their privacy is respected at this time given the personal impact of this issue.’

The PHA have also announced that 93 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Northern Ireland and 92 were negative.

It comes as three more people are diagnosed in the UK, bringing the total number of infected to 23.

The new cases are in Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and Berkshire, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty announced on Saturday afternoon.

Two of the patients had recently travelled back from Italy while the other had returned from Asia.

All are being investigated and individuals who came into contact with those diagnosed are now being traced.

The virus claimed its first British life on Friday, a man in his 70s who did not live in the UK and was infected on quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess.

This is a breaking news story – more follows.

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