Five people on the island of Ireland now have Covid-19.
A further two people have tested positive for Coronavirus in Northern Ireland – bringing the total to three.
The cases aren’t connected – as one patient recently travelled from Northern Italy, while the other had contact with a person elsewhere in the UK who has tested positive.
Efforts are ongoing to trace the contacts of a woman in the east of the country who’s the second person in the Republic to have the virus.
The North’s Health Minister Robin Swann confirmed the news in Belfast.
One person recently traveled from northern Italy – while the other patient had recent contact with a person elsewhere in the UK, who had subsequently tested positive for the virus.
These tests have been sent to laboratories in England for verification. The first case in the North was announced last week, after a woman travelled from Italy via Dublin.
Northern Italy is one of the regions worst impacted by the virus.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has today been informed of two confirmed cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Northern Ireland.
Both patients are in isolation in Northern Ireland and are receiving treatment.
One patient is associated with travel from an affected area in Northern Italy.
The other patient is associated with close contact with a confirmed case in the UK.
Public Health Authorities in Northern Ireland have activated contact tracing protocols.
Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health, Dr. Tony Holohan, said: “We now understand there are three confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland, five in total on the island of Ireland.”
“Given that COVID-19 is a new disease it is understandable that its emergence may give rise to anxiety and fear among the general public. These factors can also give rise to harmful stereotypes.
“This virus knows no borders, or race. Restricting travel into Ireland does not form a component of our current response. We must continue to focus on ensuring that everyone is informed, and knows what to do in the event they develop symptoms
“It is essential that any decisions regarding responses to COVID-19 are proportionate, necessary and based on specific public health advice. No other response is appropriate.
“The general public should continue to follow HSE.ie and Gov.ie/health for accurate and informative information regarding Ireland’s response to COVID-19.”