Health authorities are trying to trace patients and healthcare staff at Cork University Hospital who may have been in contact with the first case of Covid-19 here that is a result of community transmission.

A crisis management team has been established at CUH and they have closed the hospital to visitors, cancelled elective work and asked some staff to stay at home and self-isolate.

Contact tracing is under way at the hospital and Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer at the HSE, said patient safety is an absolute priority.

A risk assessment at CUH is under way and the Department of Health confirmed that some time had elapsed between the male's admission to the hospital and his diagnosis.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said that as part of that person's diagnosis, their contacts were examined by the public health team, and they have not been able to establish a travel connection to the virus or a connection to an already confirmed case of infection.

It is the only case in Ireland where health officials say they have been unable to establish the source of the infection.

The case in Cork is one of seven new cases of Covid-19 announced by the Department of Health this evening.

It brings to 13 the total number of cases in the Republic of Ireland

Of the seven new cases, four are associated with travel from northern Italy - four males in the east of the country.

Two are associated with close contact with a confirmed case and are two females in the west.


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Dr Holohan said the country remains in a containment phase.

He said health officials are "not alarmed" by the fact there has been community transmission, saying it is what the Department expected, and that it matches the patterns seen in other countries.

He also described it as a "rapidly evolving situation" and that public health doctors working hard to ensure that containment measures are operating effectively.