There are now 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the Republic of Ireland, after seven new cases were reported on Thursday, five on Friday and one on Saturday.
Saturday's case relates to a man in the east of the country who had travelled from an affected region. Friday's five cases involve a male in the east, a female in the west, and two females and one male in the south. Four of these cases are associated with travel from affected areas, while one case - a female in the south - is associated with close contact with a confirmed case.
Among the seven cases reported on Thursday, four of these cases - males in the east of the country - are related to travel from northern Italy.
Two of the cases - females in the west of the country - are associated with close contact with a confirmed case.
However, the Department of Health also confirmed that the first case of community transmission has occurred, affecting a male in the south of the country. This case is associated with Cork University Hospital (CUH) and a risk assessment is underway.
Over 60 staff at CUH have been asked to self-isolate as a result of this case.
Meanwhile, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) also confirmed its first case of the illness on Thursday and this led to part of its campus being closed as a precautionary measure, however the rest of the campus remained open.
The Department of Health's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan reminded the public that most people who become infected with COVID-19 "experience a mild illness and recover", however it can be more severe for some.
"Ireland remains in containment phase with just one case of community transmission. This is, however, a rapidly evolving situation. Public health doctors are working hard to ensure our containment measures are operating effectively.
"This will need a national effort. Every individual needs to be aware of how to protect their own health and the health of others," he said.
The department advises the following protective measures:
-Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
-Maintain at least one metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing/sneezing
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
-Practice cough and sneeze hygiene - covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough/sneeze. Then dispose of the tissue immediately.
"The past number of weeks have been challenging for everyone in our healthcare system. This challenge is going to escalate as the number of cases rises here," commented the department's deputy chief medical officer, Dr Ronan Glynn.
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.
It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of the virus to show. These may include a cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties and fever (high temperature).
COVID-19 can also cause more severe illnesses, including pneumonia and severe breathing difficulties.
Anyone who has been to an affected region (mainland China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Iran and northern Italy) in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms, should self-isolate and call their GP.
Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days AND is experiencing symptoms should immediately self-isolate and call their GP.
For more information on COVID-19, click here or here.
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