Sam Boal/

Second case of Covid-19 confirmed in the Republic of Ireland

A female in the east of the country recently returned from northern Italy.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 3rd 2020, 10:34 PM

THE SECOND CASE of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Republic of Ireland has been confirmed by the Department of Health. 

The confirmation comes after the first case in the Republic of Ireland was confirmed last Saturday night and a separate case was confirmed in Northern Ireland last Thursday

In a statement issued this evening, the National Public Health Emergency Team said the patient was tested in line with established protocols. 

The department said a female in the east of the country has contracted the illness. She recently returned to Ireland from an affected area in northern Italy, but authorities would not give an exact timeframe. 

The department said it is working to identify any “contacts the woman may have had” but that this process is at an early stage.  

It added that this new case is related “with travel from an affected area in Northern Italy rather than contact with another confirmed case”.

As of yesterday, a total of 397 people have been tested for Covid-19, the department said. / YouTube

Speaking at a press briefing in Dublin tonight, the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said the Department of Foreign Affairs is now recommending the avoidance of non-essential travel to the Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna regions in northern Italy. 

The latest travel advice can be read here

Holohan said more isolated cases are expected to be imported into Ireland, but that there is “no evidence of local transmission here”.

He added: “We don’t think it’s likely (there are more than two cases here).”

Holohan said if more cases emerge here, the main concern is for vulnerable people such as the elderly and people with disabilities.

Mass gatherings 

Guidelines surrounding mass gathering are expected to be published in next few days.
Holohan said the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin is unlikely to be cancelled.  

He added: “As things now stand, we see no reason why that wouldn’t take place.”

Dr John Cuddihy, Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said the female in question has been interviewed as part of tracing people she came into contact with. He said this process is at an early stage as the group only found out about the case this evening.

Speaking about confusion surrounding the veracity of a letter stating that a teenage band had been told to self-isolate in relation to the first confirmed case of Covid-19 here, Holohan said: “We made clear in public today that there has been a number of inaccurate or hoax letters circulating … The information that comes from the Department of Health is reliable.” 

Department and HSE officials earlier today said the letter in question was fake before later clarifying that it was genuine. 

The group would not comment on the male at the centre of the first case or his condition. / YouTube

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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