Ireland confirms first COVID-19 case


File photo

DUBLIN, Feb. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) of Ireland on Saturday confirmed the first case of novel coronavirus in the country.

"The patient, a male in the eastern part of Ireland, is currently receiving appropriate medical care," said the centre in a statement posted on the website of the Department of Health. 

"The case is associated with travel from an affected area in northern Italy, rather than contact with another confirmed case," it 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," said John Cuddihy, director of the HPSC in the statement. 

The HSE is a state agency under the Department of Health, responsible for public health in Ireland. 

Tony Holohan, chief medical officer with the Department of Health, said in the statement that "This is not unexpected. We have been preparing for this eventuality for many weeks now."  

The report of the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Ireland came after a woman in Britain's Northern Ireland was confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus on Thursday night, making her the first confirmed case on the island of Ireland.

The woman returned home to Northern Ireland from northern Italy via Dublin airport, said the Department of Health on Friday, adding that all the people who had close contact with her have been traced and notified.