Primark, which trades as Penneys here, has asked the majority of its employees in its Dublin headquarters and Reading office in the UK to work from home tomorrow.

It said it taking the move in order to test its operational readiness and IT capability should a situation arise where it needs to temporarily close one of its offices.

The company stressed that it has not had any cases of Covid-19 amongst its employees.

A total of 1,000 staff work at the company's Dublin headquarters.

"Primark (Penneys) has robust contingency plans in place as the main priority is the health and wellbeing of employees," the company added.

Earlier, Vodafone confirmed that it has asked all of its office workers in Dublin to work from home tomorrow.

The company said the move is part of a business continuation exercise in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Aer Lingus offers staff unpaid leave

Aer Lingus has offered staff the option of working part-time or taking unpaid leave between March and the end of June. 

However, the airline declined to comment on why it was taking this step - or whether it was related to the Covid-19 virus. 

The move comes at a time when airlines are normally ramping up staffing for the busy summer season. 

The memo from Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Donal Moriarty tells workers the airline is offering them the option of taking unpaid leave from March until 30th June. 

It then gives staff details on how to apply, saying priority will be given to applications received before the close of business on Wednesday, 11th March.